Thanksgiving 2009: Part One
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and so there is no better time than now to discuss the problem of unthankfullness.
According to the Bible, to be ungrateful toward God is a denial of his power and a sign of hardened rebellion. In fact, someone who does not give thanks to God for his many blessings is really no different than the person who denies God's existence.
Every person on earth has reason to give thanks to God. He is the giver of life. He is the one who causes the crops to grow that provide food. He is the one who restrains evil so mankind might work and live in peace. Indeed, he is the one who upholds all of creation. Without his constant superintendence this realm would cease to exist.
Christians have even more to be thankful for. In the first place we have salvation in Jesus Christ. Moreover, we have the confidence God is in charge and all events and circumstance of this life are in his hands. We can give thanks that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). This means we should count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of [our] faith produces patience (James 1:2-3). The bottom line is, Christians should give thanks in every situation (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Thus, one who does not give thanks to God is like one who denies God. The fool has said in his heart there is no God (Psalms 14:1) and those who are unthankful to God have "foolish hearts" that are "darkened" (Romans 1:21). Ungratefulness is a harbinger of perilous times (2 Timothy 3:2) and is an attitude that has no place in a Christian's life. Unfortunately, many Christians harbor unthankful feelings as evidenced by their complaining and grumbling. Does this mean they are on a highway to hell? No, but it should be a warning they need to get a grip on reality.
When we are unthankful we say God doesn't know what he is doing. It is normal to be disappointed when life doesn't turn out the way we hope but when we hang on to regret we create fertile ground for ungratefulness and bitterness. Any disappointment we experience concerning the circumstance of life should be brief. Instead of complaining about how things turn out we need to immediately turn to God in praise and thanksgiving, acknowledging his sovereign love and grace.
An unthankful heart is easy pickings for the adversary and leaves us weak and ineffective, unable to do the work of the kingdom. It is impossible to please God while cultivating ungratefulness because it is the opposite of faith. An unthankful heart turns away from the lord and ignores the duty of love and obedience to God and self sacrifice on behalf of others. Even the most basic responsibilities of the Christian walk are impossible for the ungrateful.
I am not suggesting everyone will find it easy to overcome unthankfulness; some people are naturally more melancholy than others. Nevertheless we all have the duty to be thankful to God for his many blessings to us. As we will see next week, a thankful heart is the key to effective kingdom living.
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