Rev Stephen Brooks’ timely article reminds us that it’s good to be grateful to God for everything – the good, the bad and, most importantly, that fact that we are alive
Giving thanks is a practice that does not come easily to many people because, when they look at their lives, some believe there is nothing worth thanking God for. Unthankfulness is listed as a common trait among people in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5), and is a sign of an ungodly mind (Romans 1:18-21).
It is normal at the start of any year to reflect on the past, look to the present, and contemplate the future. We find ourselves reflecting on what God has done and what He will do in the future. In tough times, when we feel alone or vulnerable, it is easy to worry about our future and feel as though we have to make things happen by ourselves, without God.
Thinking always precedes thanking. When we receive a gift, it is only as we stop to think of the significance and meaning of the gift that we are led to express our thankfulness.
Each breath we breathe is a gift from God, but many are not in the least bit thankful. When things are going well, it’s counted as coincidence, chance or their own hard work; they never thank God. However, let something terrible happen, and many cry, “Why, God? Why me?”, as though He’s responsible. Why is it always God’s fault when things go wrong, but when things go well, He has nothing to do with it?
There isn’t a single person, especially living in the United Kingdom, who does not have a reason to be thankful to God. Just consider the following:
- If you have food in the fridge; clothes on your back; a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of people in the world.
- If you have money in the bank, in your pocket, and spare change somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
- If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are doing better than the 1 million who will not survive the week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, loneliness of imprisonment, agony of torture, or pangs of starving, you are ahead of 500 million people.
- If you can attend a Christian church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are more blessed than 3 billion people.
Many of us are ungrateful for God’s kindnesses and manifold blessings in our lives. We are so concerned about what is yet to happen that we fail to see what has happened. We are so mindful of prayers that are yet to be answered that we overlook answered prayers we are already enjoying.
“There isn’t a single person, especially living in the United Kingdom, who does not have a reason to be thankful to God.”
Which one do you think is better? Not to have an accident, or to survive an accident? Which one do we always consider as the testimony in church? This is how we rob God from His praise. We think that falling sick and being healed is a greater miracle than enjoying divine health and not falling sick in the first place. It has been said that whatever you don’t appreciate will depreciate in your estimation. While all ten lepers had received physical healing, only the Samaritan had the faith for spiritual healing as well. All ten lepers were cleansed of the disease, but only the thankful leper was saved by being thankful to Jesus. This man received something greater than mere physical healing; he was saved from his sins (Luke 17:19).
There is no time, place or circumstance in which we are not to give God thanks. The Bible makes this very clear:
- “Giving thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” – Ephesians 5:20
- “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” – Colossians 3:17
- Not only are we to always give thanks, but we are to do it willingly (Leviticus 22:29).
Ungratefulness indicates immaturity, either physical or spiritual. Children do not always appreciate what parents do for them; they have short memories. Their concern is not what you did for me yesterday, but what are you doing for me right now. The past is worthless and so is the future; they live only in the present. As we grow up, we learn to appreciate what others do for us. But, as we grow physically and spiritually, if we do not learn to express thankfulness to others and to God, it is a sign of immaturity.
From today, may your thankfulness involve not only what you are grateful for on a material level, but also that which you love and feel gratitude for on the spiritual level of your life.