We just celebrated Thanksgiving. What are you grateful for? Did you take time out to thank God for your many blessings? Or did you focus on a few negative things going on in your life? Do you have an attitude of gratitude or a complaining spirit?
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” (II Timothy 3:1-4, NASB).
Let that not be you or me!
We tend to focus on that one negative issue in our life. For example, are you grateful for God providing you with a job or are you complaining about the commute or your boss or the hours? Are you focused on some of the boring things you may be required to do? Are you thankful for God providing you with a car to drive or are you upset it isn’t the newest and greatest model? Are you thankful God has provided you with a home to live in or are you complaining that it isn’t your dream home? Do you get upset if you don’t get everything you want or are you thanking God for what you do have?
Have you ever been upset that something didn’t go as planned only to find out later it saved your life? For example, you were delayed one morning and were late to work. You found out later you missed a fatal accident on the freeway. On 9-11, people were upset to have missed their planes. Later they were thankful, as the plane they missed crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or a field in Pennsylvania! Or did you miss out being selected for a job only to find out later you missed out on a nightmare of a situation? We could go on and on.
Do you trust God? Then we need to always be thankful for all He has done for us! We know that God always wants the best for us all the time.
“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18). This doesn’t mean to thank God for everything that may be going wrong in your life, but for what is going right and how He is helping you in your situation. Acknowledging that with God’s help, you will make it to the other side without being burned: “‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.'” (Isaiah 43:2, NASB).
We need to remember the children of Israel that wandered in the desert for 40 years. Why? Part of the reason was that they were so ungrateful for everything God had done for them. God protected them supernaturally from the Egyptian army and a few days later they were complaining that they would die in the desert from the lack of food and water. When God provided water and manna from Heaven, they complained that they didn’t have meat. And they complained about how tired they were of manna. And on and on it went. Are we any different? We have countless blessings that no one in the history of the world has ever had. And what do we hear most of the time? Complaining!
And do we remember He who helped us achieve our promotions at work, or blessed us with that job, house or car? Or do we forget God and pat ourselves on the back saying, “Look at what I have done!” Please heed the warning given here:
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:10-20, NASB).
One way we can remember to focus on our blessings is by taking time every day to write down 3-5 things that we have been Blessed with by God. It’s a good practice. Try it for a month. Write down five things every day and don’t repeat anything. You will probably not cover all of your blessings! If you are going through a trial or tough situation, focus on the times that God took care of you in the past and what He did for you. Thank Him in advance for His care and provision for you now.
Let’s change our focus from complaining to thankfulness. Let’s all cultivate an attitude of gratitude!