One of the greatest of all sins is the sin of ingratitude! Although Americans observe Thanksgiving, millions still do not know what it means to be thankful. You need to know how, when, and to whom to be thankful no matter what country you live in.
Stop and look and listen. You’ll see multitudes of unhappy people grumbling and griping about nearly everything. This is especially true in the two most prosperous countries on earth the United States and Britain.
Our peoples combined have more than half of all the world’s good things. Yet few find satisfaction in them. Why? Because of ingratitude. People are not happy today because they are not thankful.
The Bible foretold that in the last days men would be unthankful (II Tim. 3:1-2). You were born with a selfish nature, full of greed. Notice what God says about your nature. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:2-3).
Notice! Human nature is selfish, grasping, snatching, devouring for self. With this nature, its’ hard to be thankful! To be thankful we must stop, look at, and appreciate what we have. But instead of appreciation, human nature constantly lusts for more. A mind filled with lust and desire to get is virtually incapable of gratitude.
The combined sins of lust, greed and ingratitude are major factors bringing God’s punishment on our peoples. God says, “Because you did not serve the Eternal thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Eternal shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon they neck until he have destroyed thee” (Deut. 28:47-48).
Are the peoples of Britain and America serving God with joyfulness and gladness of heart? We are blessed with an abundance of all things. But because of our ingratitude, our griping, grumbling, complaining ways, God will send us into captivity and we will lose our tremendous blessings. God despises the sin of ingratitude!
This world’s education has jumped the tracks. Today’s education cannot cope with the immense problems of the world. Why such a lack in essential knowledge about life, health, eternity? It all started long ago.
God says of the philosophers and educators: “Because that, when they knew god, they glorified Him not as God neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21-22).
Notice it! They did not glorify God. They were not thankful. And what was the result? They became vain in their imagination in their minds.
It takes humility to be thankful. Human nature, with its greed, selfishness, vanity cannot humble itself in thanksgiving to God. And so exalting themselves, ancient philosophers and educators left the truth of God, changed it to a lie. They worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator “who is blessed for ever more, Amen.”
Christ healed many in His day. But how many ever thanked Him? On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through a certain village. Ten lepers met Him there. Standing afar off they cried to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
“And when He saw them, He said unto them, go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His (Jesus’) feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”
“And Jesus answering said, were there not ten cleansed but where are the nine? They are not found that returned to give glory to God save this stranger” (Luke 17:11-18).
One in ten. That’s a ratio! Maybe not that much! Does one in ten give thanks to God today? How many people take time to thank God for His great blessings and benefits?
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless His name” (Ps. 100:4).
God commands us to be thankful and to bless His name. Why? God wants to develop holy righteous, perfect character in those who have voluntarily yielded their lives to Him. God knows human nature. He knows it is filled with vanity, selfishness, lust and greed. He knows that of itself human nature is not thankful. Therefore to help us overcome this selfish nature, God has commanded that we be thankful.
Thankfulness gets our minds off self, off greed, lust, vanity; Thankfulness acknowledges God’s hand in our lives. We admit we’ve had help. We did not do it all ourselves. It is very difficult for people to say “Thank you.” For when thanks is given it is akin to being indebted, a debt which many times cannot be repaid. It’s hard for human nature to feel obligated.
God tells Christians, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18). Here is the formula for happiness. God expects us to give thanks “in everything.” In other words, God expects us to find something good in every situation. God wants us to focus on our blessings, not dwell on our problems.
Notice Ephesians 5:20: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you give thanks in everything? Do you give thanks always for all things?
How many take time to give thanks for the Bible? Where would we be without the Holy Word of God, God’s revelation to man of essential knowledge? God has preserved His Word through ages of persecution and diabolical schemes to destroy it. In these last days we are all blessed that a Bible can be obtained for a few dollars. Are you thankful for that?
Do you give thanks for your home? Your children? Your mate? Do you give thanks for good health? “But,” you say, “I don’t have perfect health.” Have you heard the saying, “I complained about flat feet until I saw a man who didn’t have any feet?” No one today has absolutely perfect health. But in every case, it could be worse.
Do you give thanks for the food you eat? God’s Word shows we should. Jesus did, He gave thanks for what He ate, asking God to bless it. God commands us to give thanks!
Some people ask, “What does God want us to do?” God’s will is expressed very plainly. Part of God’s will is for Christians to give thanks. It develops humility. Most of us think we are sufficient unto ourselves. Giving thanks shows we aren’t.
Thanksgiving is important. King David knew this better than most, he appointed “certain of the Levites to minister before the Ark of the Eternal, and to record, and to thank and praise the Eternal God of Israel” (I Chron. 16:4). Imagine, here were men whose duty was “to thank and praise” God.
Every morning thanks were to be given by the Levites. In I Chronicles 23:28-30 the duties of the Levites are outlined. They included the purifying of all holy things, work and service of the house of God, “and to stand every morning to thank and praise the Eternal, and likewise at even.”
Twice a day a thanks was given formally. David knew ingratitude was one of the greatest sins a nation could fall into. He took every precaution to prevent it, including appointing men to offer special thanks to God.
God Almighty was not really pleased with the sacrifices of the Old Testament. Hearing the Word of the Eternal and doing it meant more to God than all the burnt offerings, peace offerings, oblations, and incense. But one sacrifice is pleasing to God. “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Eternal” (Ps. 116:17). God is pleased with the sacrifice of thanksgiving. God commands us to offer that sacrifice.
Every day God wants you to give thanks to Him for your life, food, and multitudes of other blessings. Many have a hard time praying. They would not if they would take time to count their blessings and thank God. You should be thankful to be able to give thanks!
God knows it goes against the grain of human nature to say “Thanks.” Have you ever noticed how people avoid those two words “Thank you”? A sincere “Thank you” shows the basic character and attitude of a man. It shows him to be humble, meek, and thoughtful.
Not only does God want us to thank Him but also to thank others. Members of a family need to practice this. A simple “thank you” would promote peace, tranquility, and love in a family. When members are considerate, thoughtful, and observant of the work, service, and help of others, it encourages and inspires the entire family. Try it!
Great men of God all gave thanks. These men were not weaklings or cowards. They were real “he-men.” Daniel gave thanks. “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter” (Daniel 2:23). Daniel had just finished receiving the interpretation of the king’s dream. No magician or wise man of the kingdom could do it. Did he accept all the credit himself? No! He acknowledged God. He thanked God. He showed humility, meekness and faith.
Daniel knew the importance of thanksgiving in prayer. A decree was made by Darius the king that said anyone making a petition to any god or man for thirty days other than to the king would be cast into a den of lions. Daniel knew the writing was signed. Yet “he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Dan. 6:10).
Why thanks? Men were plotting against him! His life was in danger! Yet in the face of these things Daniel still gave thanks. He was not too concerned about self that he forgot God’s goodness.
You and I forget. When troubles come or trials arise we forget God’s benefits. The immediate response is to protect self get for self ask for self. But true Godly, courageous character will take time and give thanks.
Paul gave thanks. The phrase “I thank my God” appears time and again in Paul’s epistles. Jesus gave thanks. He thanked God for His daily food. He started prayer with thanksgiving. In fact, most prayers recorded in the Bible start with thanksgiving.
The Psalms are filled with thanksgiving to God. Time and again you run across this statement: “O give thanks unto the Eternal, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever.” In Psalm 136 the Bible tells us to give thanks to God for His wonders, works and miracles.
Why aren’t people happy? Simply because they are not thankful. In the United States a day has been set aside for thanksgiving. But how many actually give thanks? Most people are too busy, too concerned with self to thank God. The day is filled with football games, drinking, and gluttony. Thousands take to the roads in a mad scramble to “have a good time.” The entire day is filled with the emphasis on self-gratification.
Of all things Christians have to be thankful for, the most precious is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through His blood we may have forgiveness of sins. God will overlook pass over our sins. Christ has taken your sins on Himself. He is the propitiation for sins sent into the world to take the sins of the whole world on Himself. Those who truly repent of their ways and their thoughts, and turn to the living Jesus Christ, may have forgiveness through His blood.
How precious was this sacrifice? It is hard to describe. But a look into Old Testament times may give us some idea.
You wake up in your dwelling to hear a tumult outside. Quickly you throw on a garment and run out to see what the trouble is. Someone tells you a woman has been caught taken in the act of adultery. Crowds gather. You run hurriedly along too witness the death penalty. For adultery was punishable immediately by death through stoning. All took part. You knew you had to witness it.
You wonder who it is perhaps someone you know. You hear the shrieks and screams of a woman. As you draw near to the brow of a hill, the crowd pressing closely against you, you peer down and see the victim. She is being blindfolded and led to the edge of a high platform as she pleads for mercy.
“I’ll never do it again,” she says. “Please forgive me in was a moment of weakness, I didn’t mean to do it! Please! Somebody help me!”
You knew there could be no help. For the death penalty must be executed. Nothing could stop the death penalty from being enforced. There was no repentance, no chance to change, no forgiveness of sins under the Old Covenant.
So you stand and watch as the accuser pushes her over the edge. A piercing scream and she falls in a crumpled heap. Then the witnesses drop a huge rock on her chest, crushing the upper portions of her body. Blood splatters. Then the crowd joins in. Rocks from all directions plummet down at the helpless victim. Screams yet pierce the air. Soon the screams are crushed to low moans. And finally silence! Such was the administration of death!
But wait! The scene shifts. Now the woman is standing in front of Jesus Christ in the midst of the temple. Pharisees are there accusing. Now Moses in the Law commanded us, that such should be stoned. But what sayest thou?” They said this tempting Jesus.
After He stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” He stooped down again and wrote on the ground. Convicted, the Pharisees filed out one by one.
When Jesus stood up only the woman was standing in front of Him. He said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” “She said, No man, Lord!’ ““And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee, go, and sin no more’” (John 8:1-11).
Those words! Those wonderful words: “Neither do I condemn thee.” Money can’t buy them. Works can’t earn them. They can’t be borrowed or stolen. They are a manifestation of God’s grace. The righteous One without sin who could cast the first stone offers His life to pay for your sins!
These words of forgiveness have come to you when you needed them most. You like the woman-- was condemned to death, eternal death, through sin! “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). And the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). God spared your life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If you were strapped to a tree facing an angry crowd with rocks in their hands, God’s grace would mean so much more to you! Other things wouldn’t mean so much. Everything else would take second place! You would give thanks to God for His grace. You would literally “give thanks always for all things.” Why don’t you do it now?