Have you noticed that saying “thank you” seems to be becoming a lost art, especially among the youth. I help out with coaching the high school tennis team and I really appreciate how our head coach works at having all the players thank the opposing coach at an away meet for hosting the matches. I’m afraid many of our young people are growing up in homes where that doesn’t happen, because it is a pretty rare thing to hear a “thank you” from them when you have done something for them. I was visiting with a good friend this last week who had recently hosted some teens in his home and provided goodies and entertainment for them and when they left only one bothered to thank him—sadly pretty typical.
But, as Solomon said “…there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:10). A lack of gratitude has been around since sin entered the human race. It is part of the old nature. Luke records an event in the life of Jesus when He was on His way to Jerusalem and entered a certain village where ten leprous men cried out to Him, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Lk. 17:11-13). Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. (A priest had to certify the cleansing of a leper before they could rejoin the community.) And as they did, they were cleansed (v. 14). Of the ten, only one returned to thank Jesus. He “turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His (Jesus’) feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (vv. 15-18).
As believers, we need to recognize that every day is a gift from God and that “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (Jas. 1:17) and have an attitude of thanksgiving. We need to express gratitude to those who minister to us in some way and we especially need to express thanks to God, and not just for the good things but for all things. Eph. 5:20 says, “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” And in I Thes. 5:18 we have this command: “In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Since God uses all things in our life to conform us to His image (Ro. 8:29) we can give give thanks knowing that “God causes all things to work together for (our) good (and His glory) to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (v. 28).
One of the things that characterizes those who have ignored God and His creation and have not honored Him as God, is that they fail to give thanks and become futile in their speculations and their foolish heart becomes darkened and professing to be wise, they become fools and start worshiping creation instead of God (Ro. 1:21-23). Tragically the passage goes on to indicate that because they have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator..God gave them over to degrading passions (engaging in homosexual practices)…” (vv. 24-27). Sound a bit familiar when you look at our culture today?!
So, as we enter this Thanksgiving week, be reminded of the need for “thanksliving.” Of all people, we who belong to Christ have so much for which to give thanks. We have new life, eternal life, abundant life, sins forgiven, a place reserved in heaven, a Father who cares for us with everlasting love and only desires what is best for us, who provides us with hope in the midst of despair, peace in the midst of turmoil, joy in the midst of sorrow. We have a Good Shepherd who guides and guards and grazes us as His sheep. God, we thank You for all You have done and do for us and we praise You for who You are and who we are in You through our relationship with God the Son, Jesus Christ.
P.S. Thank you folks for reading the “Wisdom of the Week” devotionals and for sending them on to friends and family. Thanks for your responses and kind words of encouragement. Thanks for your prayers. We appreciate you.