Before you jump to the conclusion that I’m a reincarnate Ebenezer Scrooge, allow me to clarify what I mean by the admittedly misleading title of this post. The truth is, I like to think of myself as a thankful person. I’m sure that you do too… The problem is that I tend to be chronically unthankful.
Yes, and sadly, I can be downright grossly negligent in the gratitude department. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be thankful. I know I need to thankful. And seasons like these even remind me to be thankful. It’s just that too often I’m not.
Sometimes it’s my sense of entitlement that feeds my ingratitude. Entitlement says, “I deserve what I have and what I get.” Why should I express gratitude for something that is my inalienable right to possess? The obvious fallacy to such thinking is that it ignores the plain teaching of the Word of God. Having food and raiment, we should be content. Discontentment grows in direct proportion to my expectations of what I deserve. In fact, most of us set the expectation bar high enough to elicit 100 complaints for every single expression of thanks.
Self-absorption is another effective silencer of thanksgiving. Think about it for a moment. Gratitude highlights the value of another person’s character and actions. Communicating gratitude is a tacit expression of humility.
It’s not even that self-absorbed people don’t recognize the value of someone else’s character or deeds, they just shrink from the idea of anyone else getting the credit for the good that has come their way. As Paul so eloquently warned the Romans, “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful…”
Perhaps the greatest reason for ingratitude, and the one that gives rise to both entitlement and self-absorption, is simply a cold fellowship with the Lord. Thanklessness thrives when we fail to connect even the most basic provisions and blessings with the God who lovingly supplies them. In fact, what facilitates ingratitude is the disconnect between recognizing blessings and acknowledging the God that provided them. We are thankful for things without being thankful to God. (See my previous post entitled 2 > 4.) And when thankfulness loses its source, entitlement and self-absorption will eagerly insert themselves.
In short, thankfulness is not a duty to be remembered, it is the outflow of a Spirit-filled life and an expression of one who finds his sufficiency in Christ.
“God bless us, every one!” Hey, even Ebenezer Scrooge learned that lesson.