I guess it is because it was just Thanksgiving and I preached two different messages on the subject but gratitude is on mind. One thing that I have noticed is that in this current generation of instant satisfaction is that the art of gratitude is nearly lost. Why do I say this? Think about how often do we pause to consider the seamstress who tailored the shirts that we wear or the truck driver who delivered the goods that we purchase at the store or the many hands that labor in the background to provide our many comforts in this life?
Think about this. How the farmer grows the wheat, the wholesaler sells, the distributor supplies, the truck driver delivers, the baker kneads and bakes and the salesperson sells the bread. If you consider them, their support staff and those who provide the background material and ingredients, it requires hundreds of laborers to provide a single loaf of bread. How often do we stop and consider this? How often are we grateful for those in these various positions?
Gratitude is an important part of life. Zig Ziglar tells us, “The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for." Is this because you get more things or you begin to recognize what it is that you have?
We get these words of encouragement about thankfulness from Charles “Tremendous” Jones who says, “An attitude of gratitude flavors everything you do. Learning to be thankful is the golden thread woven through every truly successful life.” Part of being successful is recognizing all that you have been blessed with in life.
We should have this attitude of gratitude. Thankfulness should be woven through our lives and not something that we celebrate just one time a year. It should be a constant in our lives. We should live our lives in a state of gratitude for many reasons which I will hit on throughout this this week. Here is the unfortunate thing, we do not and we really live our lives in a state of gratitude at all. Instead of gratitude we ask questions like why are they doing it this way because my way is better, why are they doing that because that is not how I would do it, or we say something like – is that really the best they could do? We miss out on so much when we live in selfishness and not in gratitude.
We see this in Colossians 1:12 - giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. We need to be giving thanks to God because of how well he treats us. God has given us who do not deserve anything a great inheritance. We need to be giving thanks to God who does not give us what we deserve but gives us so much more.
Think about this – Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us: In the divine administration, the Father is mentioned in connection with the broad sweep of His plan of redemption. He is the Person of the Trinity who initiates the plan of the ages. We are to have an attitude of gratitude toward our heavenly Father for his plan of salvation. When was the last time you really thanked God for salvation?
The thankful person is one who is conscious of benefits they have received. The Merriam Webster Thesaurus has the following antonyms for "thankful" — unappreciative, ungrateful, self-centered; careless, thoughtless; unappreciative, ungrateful. How many people do the antonyms describe that you know? Do these describe the person you look at in the mirror?
There is a tragic story told about a young a ministerial student, Edward Spencer, who personally saved 17 people on September 8, 1860, when a passenger boat floundered on the lake. The effort permanently damaged Spencer’s health and he was unable to continue his pursuit of the ministry. At his death some years later, it was noted that not one of the 17 people he had saved ever came to thank him. We all think "How horrible!" but how many times have we all forgotten to "in everything give thanks" to our heavenly Father for so great a salvation! Unfortunately we are all have a tendency to be eager to ask but slow to appreciate our heavenly Father continual blessings on us.
Another reminder of this is that we read in the gospels that Jesus healed 10 and only 1 returned to thank him. Are you one of the 9 or are you the 1? I too often fall into the 9 camp – how about you?
If you had to rate yourself from 1 – 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best) where you would rate yourself in the area of gratitude? Why did you rate yourself that? What other thoughts do you have reading this?