Summary: Thankfulness is essential for the Christian!
An Attitude of Gratitude
We are approaching the time of the year that we call thanksgiving. It is a time where we set aside one particular day of the year to return thanks to God for what He has done and how he has blessed us. We do indeed have something to be thankful for today. During this time many people will be cooking a turkey, baking pumpkin pie, watching football games, perhaps in the woods hunting. I wonder if in the midst of all the holiday commotion is people will pause and take time to thank God. I wonder, why do we need a national holiday to remind us to give thanks. There is nothing wrong with having a time of thanksgiving, but shouldn’t every day be filled with thanks to God for what he has done for us? As I think about talking about gratitude, I think that it is a difficult sermon topic to preach on, because those that suffer from ingratitude usually have a hard time seeing their faults, they seem to thrive on problems, and they never see that ingratitude is something they need to change. Nevertheless, I believe ingratitude is one of the most serious of sins and that gratitude is one of the most important of virtues.
I believe we live in a nation and among a people who suffer from ingratitude. Ingratitude is a big deal because it fails to give thanks to where it belongs. Also, it seems that ingratitude is a root of all sins. Many of the times that we live in disobedience it can be traced to ingratitude for what God has done for us already.
I some times wonder why are we not thankful sometimes…
1. We are spoiled rotten
We here today live in the most affluent country in the world; we have more than most people. I believe one of the reasons why many of us may display ingratitude in our lives may be because we are spoiled rotten. Basically, we have everything that we could ever possibly need and probably most of whatever we could ever possibly want. We are spoiled rotten. Generally speaking though, the more we have the less grateful we are. Despite all that we have we are still often not content with what we have. The more we have and the more we are spoiled the higher our standard is for discerning contentment. For example, if you stay at the Hilton it is hard to be content with Motel 6. If eat at a nice steak house it is hard to be content with Wendy’s. If you vacation in Hawaii it may be hard to be content with the camping trip to the state park. If you have Jason Cole as a preacher it is hard to be content with anyone else. We really are spoiled and the more we have the higher our expectations are and the harder it is to please us and to make us content. Perhaps today, here, there is some ingratitude because we have been spoiled rotten.
2. We May Have Negative companions
You may remember the movie, “Grumpy Old Men” with Walter Matthao and Jack Lemmon. In the movie the two grumpy men feed off of each other’s grumpiness. It is true that a negative attitude can spread and that an attitude of ingratitude can spread. We need to be careful who our companions are. The Proverbs teach that a companion of fools shall be destroyed and I Corinthians teaches that bad company can corrupt good character. We may have to purge some of our companions because they cause us to have an attitude of ingratitude.
3. We May Be Making Comparisons
Perhaps some of our ingratitude could come because we are making comparisons to others. Perhaps we look at others and compare ourselves to them and we begin to become ungrateful for what we have in light of what others have. Maybe we look at others and envy the amount of things they have, we may envy their talent, their good looks, and we may become ungrateful for what we have because of comparisons. We need to realize that no matter what there is always someone smarter, always someone better looking, and always someone more talented than us, but that does not remove our need to be grateful. You may remember the parable of the workers in the vineyard that Jesus told. He told a story about a man that hired some men to work his vineyard and he agreed to pay him a denarius. As the day past he hired several others to work as well. When the time came for the people to be paid, the ones that worked all day realized they were paid the same amount as those who only worked a little while. They complained about it and the landowner explained that they agreed to what they were paid and anyways it was his money he could do what he wanted with it. Comparison can be a dangerous thing and lead to ingratitude for what we have been given.