Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ungrateful,Yet Thankful

                Today, as I was praying and laying my woes before the Lord the word "thankful" came into my head. I heard be thankful, give thanks, and offer thanksgiving to the Lord. Over and over again, these words resonated in my heart and mind. So, I opened up my treasure box, my Bible, and looked up the many references there were to the words “offer thanksgiving”. I came across two scripture passages that stuck out at me. The first was Psalm 69:30 and the second was Colossians 2:7.
                Psalm 69:30 states, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” And Colossians 2:7 states- “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” The first, Psalm 60:30 is a psalm pleading God for urgent help. The writer of this Psalm, David, was laying out his woes before the Lord, just like I was this morning. But he did something that I forgot to do- he thanked God for His mercy and His love. How often I focus more on my lack instead of the abundance I have been given. It is a condition that we all face at some point in our walk with the Lord. We get our eyes focused on what we don’t have instead of focusing on what we do have- I found myself in that very spot this morning.
                Paul tells us in Colossians 2:7 that we are to be “abounding..with thanksgiving.” There are times when I don’t feel like being thankful, and wonder what exactly do I have to be thankful for. Things in my life are not going the way I envisioned them, they are not going the way I thought they would, and I begin to become disappointed, unsettled, and I take my eyes off of the abundance I have been given and begin to focus on the lack instead.
                When I looked up the definition of thanksgiving it stated that it was the “offering of thanks, especially for gifts received.” I have been given many gifts, and I have accepted these gifts from God without saying “Thank you.” My heart was touched and convicted today, because I saw my woeful prayer this morning as a complaining child who was not getting their way- instead of being the thankful and grateful child who is abounding in praise and glory for all the love, mercy, kindness, longsuffering, and sacrifices that He has made for me. I am sure there are many of us who can relate to these moments of ingratitude- we have all been there at some point in our walks. (To say you have not, well, I will leave that between you and the Lord.)
                Thankfulness is not only an expression of our dependence upon Him; it also shows Him that we are grateful to Him for all He has done and is doing in our lives. Paul writes that we are to be “abounding..in thanksgiving”, which is sometimes hard to do when the trials and troubles of life are surrounding you, but still we are to give thanks in everything, at all times.
                Abounding in thanksgiving is not only something we say, but it is an expression, it is the action of giving thanks to God.  We have been given truths so precious and glorious that when we think upon these gifts, the outpouring of gratitude will overflow and become an offering to Him, not only in word only but in our actions as well. Now, I did not feel so very full of thankfulness this morning, and there have been other times that I have felt this way. But being thankful and being grateful for whom He is and what we have been given is something we should be exercising daily.
                So how do we do this? How do we abound with thanksgiving, how do we “praise the name of God with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving”? Thankfulness is an attitude; it is a garment that we have to choose to put on every day. Instead of focusing on what I do not have, my focus should be on what I have been given, and the work He is doing in my life. I lay down my woes, and I pick up the offering of praise and thanksgiving. When I stopped dwelling on the lack and started focusing on what I do have, then my spirit was lifted and the outpouring of a thankful heart took over.
                We struggle so needlessly sometimes. We let our feelings overtake our faith; we let our disappointments in life cloud what we have in Christ. No, things have not turned out the way that I thought they would, and I have to thank God for that. He has never given me anything was not meant for my good, nor has He ever given me anything that would harm me, or cause me to fall. I know that every gift I have been given from Him is good, it is life, it is truth, it is hope, it is my future, and every good and perfect gift comes from my Father in heaven, who loves me so much that He gave His life for me. If I know this and if I believe this, then those times that I begin to feel disappointed and ungrateful pale in comparison to what I have. When I stop focusing on my lack and turn my attention to what I have, the thanksgiving, the praise and the glory He deserves, begins to flow out and He is magnified.
                Where are your eyes today? Are they focused on the disappointments or on the good gifts that you have been given? Giving thanks to God is something we as Christians should be doing daily. We have been given life again today- we have been shown mercy again today. We have been given eternal life, we have been chosen by God to be His children, we have been given a family in heaven, and we have been given gifts and talents to carry out the purpose and the will He has preplanned for us. We have so many things to be thankful for, we have so many reasons to offer thanksgiving to Him, we have been given so much and every day we are given another chance to turn our attitudes to praise and to sing the songs of thanksgiving. Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever. We have so many things to be thankful for, too numerous to count, so let us, today, begin to focus on what we have and not on what we lack. May the Lord God bless you with a heart of thanksgiving today and every day. May we awaken to another day of singing His praise, and thanking Him for Who He is, and what He has done for us.
                Father God, forgive me for my ingratitude, for my focus being on what I do not have instead of who You are in me and for me. May today be a new beginning for me, may I wake up each day in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings You have freely bestowed upon me. Forgive me for my ungrateful heart. May all praise and honor and thanksgiving be to Your holy name. For You have given us life, and a future, and a hope, and a love that is everlasting. May the hearts of Your children overflow with thanksgiving for all You have given us, for all that You have done for us, and for the work which You still desire to do in us. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. All praise and glory and honor and thanksgiving be to Your name, Lord Jesus Christ, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.