Published on November 6th, 2013 | by Jeff Price0
Do You Have A Thankful Heart?
This time of year, many of us have a deer feeder somewhere on our property. A friend of mine keeps his well stocked during the months in which deer may find it hard to find food. Of course other animals; the birds, raccoon, and squirrels benefit as well from the flavorful feast in the feeder.
My friend puts a great deal of money and effort into diligently keeping the feeder filled for his forest friends. He will carry two fifty-pound feed bags up the hill to his feeder a couple of times of month just to keep his furry friends supplied with tasty treats. One would think that the our woodland companions would be so happy – so appreciative of this man’s unselfish gesture that each time he takes fresh food to the feeder it would be like a scene from a Disney movie with birds fluttering around his head chirping cheerfully as squirrels, raccoon and deer dance playfully on the path behind him. On the contrary, as my friend makes his way to the feeder, the animals scurry and birds fly to their hiding places among the brush. They don’t comprehend the sacrifice – small as it may be – that my friend makes for their benefit. Quite possibly, God sees us in the same way – unappreciative, ungrateful, unthankful.
From the very beginning, God provided for us. He gave Adam and Eve a utopia with wonderful weather, fantastic food, perfect health and harmony with all things. In God’s perfect world, men and women were meant to complement, complete, and fulfill one another. And these were just the beginnings of the gifts God would give us.
But, were Adam and Eve appreciative of what God had provided? Does the Bible tell of how they spent their lives praising God for His generosity? On the contrary, the Bible tells how Satan encouraged Adam and Eve to question God’s sovereignty. Was utopia really enough? Why not be “like God, knowing good and evil”? (Gen 3:5)
From the beginning, appreciation of God’s generosity was – and still is – often displaced by discontent, complaint and criticism of and toward God. We, like those clueless creatures my friend feeds during the hard, cold winter months, are unaware of God’s generosity. We are ungrateful of His compassion and like those clueless creatures, we spend our lives hiding in the brambles complaining to God until we get something from Him and ignoring Him until we want something from Him again. Many of us, in fact, will boldly declare that we have absolutely nothing to be grateful about. Many will complain that times are tough. Some of us need work, some need food. Others need housing, while some need to beat an addiction. We suffer with health concerns, relationship worries, financial problems and the list goes on. And inside each of these general concerns are countless problems specific to each of us. So you see, we are plagued with troubles as numerous as the grains of sand in a desert. But, while some of us may have some problems, none of us have all of them. This means that we should not only give thanks for the things God has given us, we should also give thanks for the many, many things God has not allowed to occur in our lives.
Unfortunately, praise and worship (giving thanks) to God for His generosity, love, compassion and grace is something most of us do half-heartedly – if at all. Like our forest friends my friend feeds, we are unaware of just how much God does for each one of us. In this way, we are much like Israel.
God brought Israel out of bondage with a barrage of miracles and wonders. Were God’s people appreciative? On the contrary, we can turn to the 15th chapter of Exodus and read what turns out to be the beginning of a myriad of complaints God’s people had against God. They complained until God answered and then ignored God until they needed something else. Sound familiar?
We as God’s people have not changed. We go to church or to our quiet place in our home or maybe even while driving in our cars and we pray to God to deliver us from this, that or the other – all the things that are wrong in our lives. But how many times do we pray just to thank God for the things that are right in our lives? He not only deserves our praise for the good things that have happened in our lives, but also for the bad things that have not happened. He deserves prayers of thanksgiving. But not only prayers, He deserves song. He deserves to hear the voices of His people as we show our appreciation, adoration and contemplation of His wondrous grace, love and generosity. That is why praise and worship is such an integral part of a church service and of our Christian lives. God, much like a parent, loves to hear His children say they love Him and that they recognize and appreciate all He does and has sacrificed for them – especially in song.
For all the blessings we enjoy daily, there are many we don’t even realize we are the beneficiaries of. Similarly, for all the troubles God helps us with, there are many more He helps us out of without our knowledge. Given that, how can we not give God thanks in prayer and song as we express our joy for God’s love? Do any of us have nothing for which to be grateful – to sing His praises about? Certainly not! If nothing else, there is this: that God sent His Son to die so that we may live. If nothing else, that one fact alone is reason enough to praise God in prayer and song non-stop both day and night. Think of these things the next time you have an opportunity to pray or to lift your voice in praise. Then close your eyes, lift your hands and let your praises rise!
Sing to the Lord, you saints of His; praise His holy name. For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:4-5
Dear Lord, Let us be thankful: Firstly, for the bad that we have never had to face Secondly, for the good that we enjoy each day of our lives Thirdly, because we deserve none of this, yet you give it anyway. And if nothing else, Your Son’s victory gives the redeemed cause to rejoice. God, grant a thankful heart to all of us.