Lessons from the Ungrateful…
I began learning the importance of gratitude during my childhood. One of my most memorable lessons occurred during my cousins’ visit — something I usually enjoyed. However, this visit was different. My friend down the street had a new toy and my plans for playtime did not include my visiting cousins.
I darted out of the house on my newest mission towards fun. With my friend’s house in sight my cousins were far from my mind. I vaguely recall a tinge of guilt but it was quickly overshadowed by the thought of my friend’s new toy.
A few minutes later something else caught my eye. It was the sight of my mother coming to get me. And the fun in this mission ended. My mother explained that my behavior showed a lack of appreciation for my cousins. She asked me how I’d feel if I was the one left behind.
How do you feel when you are the one getting no thank you? Not “No, thank you” as in I decline the offer but thanks anyway. This is no “thank you” as in any expression of gratitude is absent. Sometimes absent appreciation is an oversight but it can easily be taken as an offense. It might be a thank you note that remains unwritten; or a phone call or email that remains unanswered. I won’t go down an entire thankless list. But I will share an example from Scripture that shows us what we stand to lose when we lack gratitude.
“If we consider the fact that God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, we also need to consider how we define good or perfect. What kind of rating system do you use?”
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to say thank you. The one who was grateful returned and gave glory to God. He received the fullness of the blessing – Jesus rewarding his faith. The other nine received their healing but they missed a deeper encounter with the Healer.
This might be a tough post to read. Believe me it is a challenge to write. Like the nine lepers, our lack of gratitude can cause us to miss out on a lot too. The value of a relationship or the value of God’s call can go missing in the midst of our thanklessness. If we consider the fact that God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (see James 1:17), we also need to consider how we define good or perfect. What kind of rating system do you use? I’ve been guilty of assigning a “blessing” rating based on how good it makes me look or feel. I’m glad Jesus didn’t use my measuring stick. He saw the good and perfect as that which pleased the Father.
Because of Jesus, we can experience the perfect expression of His grace even in the most difficult times. I believe a thankful heart is a grace magnet. The mutual attraction is unmistakable. We may not be thankful “for our circumstances” but we can still thank God “in our circumstances.”
So if you are having a “Lord I’m sorry I missed Your grace” moment, here’s some good news: God always welcomes a “Lord, I’m sorry” from you and from me. Maybe there is something or someone you’ve failed to give value to. We can learn a few things from the grateful leper and avoid the mistake of the other nine. I learned their mistake in childhood. But thankfully, one day I also learned the power of repentance and that brings hope to my heart and joy to my soul.
Next week: Prayers of the Grateful
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
“Being grateful is….”
(Share your thoughts in the comment section.)