The Problem of Thanklessness
Romans 1:21 tells us, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Thanklessness leads to futile thinking and foolish hearts.
This week is Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a holiday centered around being grateful to God. I wonder how many people will celebrate Thanksgiving without being thankful to God. Will you be one of them?
The Apostle Paul was one who expressed regular thanksgiving to God. When I looked up the two words thank God in the New Testament I found that 32 of the 38 times those words are mentioned together in the New International version they are from the writings of Paul.
This really humbles me. Paul was someone who lived his life full out in service to God. He woke up each day fully focused on serving God. He wasn’t afraid to preach the gospel even through time and time again it caused riots and often personal attacks and imprisonments. On his third missionary journey, the Holy Spirit warned him that the rest of his ministry would be about imprisonments and rejection, and he still thanked God. He was grateful that he could be used of God even if it meant suffering.
It’s easy to thank God for the unexpected bonus check. It’s easy to thank God for the prayers that get answered the way you want. Paul’s life of thankfulness seemed to lead him to a life of deep understanding and wise thinking that drew him closer to God because of the hard things he suffered.
The key to thankfulness, it seems, is to know God and glorify Him. If you know God and glorify Him, you will be thankful to Him. I have seen it happen in my own life. I am not as consistent as Paul, neither have I faced as much suffering, but I know what Paul means. I have been in situations where I was facing immense (for me) rejection and suffering yet still remained close to God. I focused my efforts on glorifying Him in spite of what was going on and found myself strangely grateful. And even more astounding than my grateful state is that I would not change the suffering for the experience of being thankful in hard times.
It was the same for those Pilgrims and Indians on that first Thanksgiving Feast. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a lot to gripe about, it’s just that they stopped to get God’s perspective on their situation. Through God’s eyes they could see that, in spite of the losses of the previous year, there had been blessings to celebrate.
Thanklessness does great damage to the soul. The cure for thanklessness is to glorify God, know Him, and thank Him. Thanking God may not transform your circumstances, but it will transform your soul.
I’m thankful to God for you and your participation with me on this journey to know Him and love Him. Happy Thanksgiving!