Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
“And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel:” 1 Chronicles 16:4.
David truly understood gratitude. Reading through his Psalms, you can find that over and over again. I’m interested in considering what it is that brings true gratitude. A person that feels that they deserve something will have no need to show gratitude. So, the first thing to consider is understanding that we do not deserve anything from God.
Many have and still do believe that there are certain things that God owes us, and that there are some things that we just can do on our own and so we do not need God for those things. For example, it is very common to be told that we deserve what we work hard for, and that those things are “earned” by us. So, no need to have gratitude for our job or the things that we worked hard for.
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” – Deuteronomy 8:18. God reminds us that we are and cannot do anything without Him. When we come to truly understand this, it will raise in us a true gratitude for all that we have. “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” – Ecclesiastes 5:19.
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” – 1 Chronicles 29:14. We find David gathering all of the materials needed to build the temple, and there was a lot of truly valuable materials. They could have bragged about how much they gave, but instead we see David’s attitude of gratitude which recognizes the all of what they gave belonged to God because it came from Him.
Job also understood that everything he had, including his children belonged to the Lord, and came from the Lord. “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” – Job 1:21. As I read this, I realize the great understanding that Job has. This is clearly the most difficult thing a person could go through, but when we truly understand that everything we have came from God, we can more easily trust Him and be grateful regardless of our circumstance.
Even Jesus teaches us something important about gratitude. You might think that Jesus did not need to give thanks, since He was God and all things consist by Him. However, we find Him giving thanks more than once. I especially want to consider one account. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” – Luke 22:19-20. Not only does Jesus give thanks, He does so for the bread and drink that signified His body and blood that He was about to give for us.
Not only are we taught to give thanks for all that we have and all that God has done for us, we are also to be thankful for other people. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” – 1 Timothy 2:1. This one is very difficult, because there is always someone that we don’t feel too thankful for. However, remember that we are not supposed to live by our feelings. We live by God’s Word by faith. Certainly, this exhortation reminds us that gratitude can be a sacrifice. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” – Hebrews 13:15.
We have an enemy that would prefer that we not show gratitude towards God for anything, let alone for everything. However, we will find that our life is significantly better when we learn to have true gratitude. Don’t allow the world or Satan to convince you that you deserve or are owed something. Everything you have; everything you are comes from God and we should be grateful to Him every single day.
Finally, and most importantly, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” – 2 Corinthians 9:15. If there was nothing else for which to be grateful, this alone would occupy all of our time for showing gratitude.