I recently saw a video as I was skimming through Facebook of a young boy who was opening up a present from his parents for his birthday. He slowly unwrapped the edges of the paper to reveal a wooden cutting board inside. Without hesitation, he jumped up and thanked his mom and dad, telling them just how much he appreciated the gift and sweetly explaining how he would use his new board to chop meat. My heart became heavy with emotion as I thought about the gratefulness he portrayed over such a small item, a gift that most people in our culture would have scoffed at, or perhaps even become angry over.
Despite obvious differences in social and cultural norms, the fact remains that this young man showed gratitude. He was thankful for the gift given to him and also showed appreciation for the ones who gave him that gift.
Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” In many, many ways, our own culture could be described by this verse.
Ungratefulness permeates our world and even as Christians we let it take hold of us, because hey, we live smack in the middle of a sin-filled world. Our society teaches us that we DESERVE it and we deserve it RIGHT NOW. Our fast paced, information-at-our-fingertips lifestyles leave us tired and unappreciative of everything it took behind the scenes to get it all accomplished.
But it’s hard sometimes, right? We are used to getting what we want, when and how we want it. Our blessings become NORMAL and we forget about what is normal. Normal is boring. We want new and we want more and that continual pursuit leaves us ungrateful for yesterday’s craze. And ungratefulness breeds when selfishness is allowed to thrive.
How can we keep this selfishness in check? How can we become a more grateful people?
Work Hard For Something
Think about it. When are you the most grateful for something? When does that ice cold cup of water look the most thirst quenching? After a hard day’s work in the hot sun, of course! Think about something big that you have been wanting to buy; something you were planning on either asking your parents for or putting on a credit card. Decide to save up for it instead.
Let me tell you about one of the greatest meals I have ever had. It was at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant on a Friday evening a few months back. I had a jalapeño burger with delicious savory and salty fries and a tall Coca-Cola on the side. I can still taste that burger if I close my eyes. I can still remember taking in every last delicious bite! But why the vivid memory of some casual dining experience months ago? Because I had just finished a week of strict eating and boy was I grateful for that burger! Whether it’s food, t.v., or even a relationship, sometimes it’s good to take some time to let the reality of just how much you are grateful for it sink in.
Reflect On the Ordinary
Make a list of things that you are grateful for, blessings that are often overlooked. Reflect or journal about what those blessings really do to enhance your life and say a prayer of thankfulness for all of those “ordinary” things.
Look Out For The Interests of Others
Paul urges us not to be consumed with ourselves but to look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Focusing on others in need or to the happiness of others keeps our selfish spirits in check and encourages a heart of compassion and appreciation for the fulfilled state of our own needs.
Honor our Lord!
Ultimately, every good thing comes down from our loving Father (James 1:17). We can show him our appreciation for our very lives and the salvation we have through his Son by honoring Him. Speak up for Him, love others for Him, gain knowledge of His word for Him, and live a holy and grateful life for Him.