I heard a comedian last year talking about the fact that no matter how great life is in the modern world and no matter how many technological breakthroughs we have, people today are never grateful. I was cracking up as I listened to him describe the fact that people sit on a plane complaining about the two-hour trip when the same journey by rail would take days or they gripe about the very slight delay in powering up a cell phone (he was careful to point out that the signal is traveling to space and back). His presentation is a reminder to all of us that the prevailing ingratitude in the world is not the result of adverse circumstances or insufficiency, but a reflection of the condition of the human heart.
The famine of gratitude in our nation and in our times is actually a direct fulfillment of the prophetic word given to Timothy by the Apostle Paul who wrote, “BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane (2 Timothy 3:1-2, AMP).
The grateful person is appreciative or thankful for the benefits received from God, for everything we have starting with our forgiveness and restoration is the result of the favor of God. The level of gratitude in our lives indicates our measure of spiritual health. That being the case, some believers should be on life support.
Ungrateful people are complainers or whiners. There’s always something wrong to gripe about. They tend to be lustful and lascivious (and old KJV word that means that these people just can’t seem to find the brakes of restraint). They are typically never satisfied, unable to keep promises (covenant breakers), critical, unfair, adorned with a chip on the shoulder, unmotivated, overstimulated, and selfish. In fact, the root of ingratitude is selfishness.
As you reflect on the goodness of God this Thanksgiving season, consider four reasons we need to cultivate gratitude in our lives. First, gratitude is God’s will. Remember Paul’s command to be joyful always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Second, gratitude leads to contentment. Prov. 30:15-16 speaks of the leeches that have a very simple vocabulary. They cry out, “give me, give me.” The leeches in the world are takers and not sowers, but gratitude helps us to be contented and thankful while we wait for our sowing to bear the fruit of increase in our lives. Third, gratitude makes prayer effective. Phil. 4:6 teaches us that we need to add thanksgiving to our petition if we want the peace of God while we are waiting for the answer to prayer to be manifested. Finally, gratitude brings full restoration. We should never forget the lesson of the leper that received healing, but unlike his nine friends, returned to Jesus to give him thanks and praise. The others were healed, but this man received soundness and wholeness in every area of his life. Gratitude is the difference between being touched and being totally transformed.