Do you know how many times my children have opened their dresser drawers and exclaimed, “Clean clothes! Washed, dried, folded and put in my drawer! Way to go, Mom! Thank you!”
Zero. Usually, all I hear is, “When are you going to wash my Transformer pj’s?” Sound familiar?
When I read Jerry Bridge’s chapter on Unthankfulness (see previous post on his book Respectable Sins), I realized that I must look the same way to God as my kids do to me. God has done so much for me and continues to sustain me every day, and I seldom stop to thank Him. God has rescued me from guilt, sin and death by delivering me from the domain of darkness and transferring me to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14). He has blessed me in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). In addition to spiritual blessings, He has given me every ability or skill I have, a loving husband, three healthy children, friends, a home, possessions, food . . . everything I have comes from Him.
How often do I thank God for my mini-van? For the ability to go to the store when we run low on food? For the privelege of gathering with other Christians openly every Sunday to hear the Word of God preached? It is not often that I exhibit a sincere attitude of thankfulness.
I read an article on happiness recently in Good Housekeeping magazine. It said that when we buy something we want, we have a high level of satisfaction, but only for a very short time. We quickly become used to having that item around and take it for granted, and our sights turn to the next item we want. This is so true in my life. I remember last year, when I desperately wanted to replace the ceiling fan over our dining room table with a beautiful chandelier. Finally, I got my chandelier, and I loved it. For about a week, I looked at it all the time and felt happy and thankful. Now, how often do you think I still notice my beautiful chandelier? Pretty much never. Rather than being thankful for what I have, I turn my attention to that sofa I’d like to replace.
Jerry Bridges reminded me in this chapter that my unthankfulness is a sin. Sound harsh? It’s true. In Ephesians 5:20, we see the command to give “thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Bridges writes, “Failure to give Him the thanks due to Him is sin. It might seem like a benign sin to us because it doesn’t harm anyone else. But it is an affront and insult to the One who created us and sustains us every second of our lives.”
Bridges also writes about giving thanks in ALL circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This is a personal challenge for me right now, as someone I love very much is facing a battle with cancer. I found comfort in Bridges’ discussion of this topic, encouraging us that giving thanks in difficult circumstances can only be done by faith in the promises of God. We can only obey I Thessalonians 5:18 because we know Romans 8:28 is true: For we know for those who love God all things work together for good. In the midst of heartache, we can thank God for the good we know He can accomplish through any circumstance.