In the last post, I highlighted an effect of the prevalent human habit of comparing ourselves with others which is the expectation that the pattern of one’s life can be deduced from that of others around us. In this post, I want to focus on another symptom of this comparing mentality – Ingratitude.
We can’t focus on what’s working for us because what’s working for someone else reminds us of what’s not working in our lives. Strangely we forget the blessings we have when we see or hear of the blessings of others. This inclination is rooted in covetousness and envy which makes us think, ‘why not me?’ instead of celebrating the blessings of others as well as ours. Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 was sad because Peninnah had children and Peninnah was sad because Hannah was loved. Neither of them were thankful for their blessings, rather Hannah was reminded of her barrenness when she saw Peninnah and Peninnah was reminded of her neglect when she saw Hannah.
The blessings of others remind us of our ‘curses’ and someone’s ‘curse’ tends to remind us of our blessings. A friend’s recent promotion at work becomes a very real reminder that you haven’t been promoted in six years and induces unhappiness. Your loving wife, healthy children, and peaceful home among other blessings are somehow not so relevant in that moment. Interestingly and on the contrary, when we hear on the news that there was a fatal accident on a certain highway, we start to think, ‘thank God, I pass that route every day.’
I recall an instance where I had to visit a hospital to pray for a sick person. Naturally, I hate hospitals (who doesn’t right?) and I saw quite a few people who were very ill. I remember vividly my ‘unborn-again’ friend who chauffeured me down fell to his knees as soon as we exited the front door and said, ‘thank you God for my life’. The irony is that despite not being a strong Christian, he echoed my exact sentiments at the moment – ‘Thank you God for my health and life.’ We all know that strong feeling of thanksgiving waned within 24 hours and it was business as usual. I believe most of us can relate.
In perfect alignment with my tune for 2015, Independent Thinking and Conscious Living, one aspect we must practice independent thought in order to live consciously is in thanksgiving to God. I call it Conscious Thanksgiving. Consciously thank God. Constantly thank God. The most lavish of men in thanksgiving is still grossly deficient.
Thanking God the way He ought to be thanked is often very difficult for us mainly because our challenges seem to be magnified in our eyes to the extent that we are unable to see the blessings we have. We must improve on the quality and quantity of out thanksgiving. It cannot be all bad and there is always always something to be thankful for.
Every soul alive today has a reason, actually lots of reasons, to thank God. Let me illustrate by taking you as an example, right now in this moment, and within this simple activity of reading a blog post. Here are eight quick blessings you can be thankful for in this moment:
- You woke up this morning. Some didn’t and last I checked, dead people don’t read blogs.
- Your eyes see and that’s why you can read. That too is a privilege.
- Your brain understands what is being read. Ever heard of dyslexia?
- You are probably saved. Salvation is, bar none the greatest blessing you have.
- You have a computer, smart phone, or access to one. Today, someone’s primary prayer point is for just one meal and clean water to drink.
- You probably have a friend that shared this post with you. (kindly share this post with everyone you know)
- There is no emergency in your life. There are issues but no emergency. Reading a blog post requires some level of tranquility. You ever seen a person read a blog in the back of an ambulance?
- You have a more advanced spiritual understanding evidenced by your placing proper priority on the Word.
Above are eight very casual reasons to thank God which we can only see when we apply consciousness to our lives and think outside of external influence. Who would have thought that a seemingly routine activity like reading a blog post has more than eight reasons to thank God embedded in it? When you consciously think about your entire life, even the minute details, you would come up with thousands of reasons to be thankful.
As Christians, we must understand that everything comes from God being the one from Whom all blessings flow. Everything good thing you have is from God. It is my understanding and firm belief that all things I have was received and therefore was given. John in John 3:27 says, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.” ‘No one’ and ‘anything’ are absolutes which makes this statement very deep. Whatever good thing I have, no matter who else has it or how common it is came from God and I am thankful for it.
It is plain rude to God to deny Him the thanks due Him. If a person holds the door open for you as you both enter a building, you say thank you because you realize he didn’t have to do that. However, if God has done eight things for you just by reading a blog and thousands of other things in our lives, we see it as nothing to thank for. We are unthankful for one of three reasons: We see the blessing as nothing to be thankful for – it’s just so ordinary. We believe some things are not God’s doing but ours – I did it. We feel the blessings are a right and not a privilege – I earned it.
It’s not a right for you to have these eight blessings listed above any more than it is a right to have someone hold the door open for you. I charge you, precious reader to give thanks to God for all things; not just right now but as a way of life. Let Him know that you are grateful. Consciously and constantly thank Him. Don’t mean to be overly dramatic but there is no such thing as being overly thankful to God. The best at this would still owe God thanks. We literally cannot thank Him enough. Shalom.