An older fellow came into the post office approached an employee and asked, “Sir, could you please address this postcard for me?”
The employee gladly did so. The man then asked if the employee could write a short message on the post card for him, he agreed to do so. Then the old man then asked if he would sign it for him. When he was finished, the postal employee asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
The old fellow thought about it for a minute and then said, “Yes. At the end could you just put, ‘P.S. Please excuse the sloppy handwriting?’”
It seems that people are not naturally grateful. Why do we struggle with gratitude? One of the reasons is the pace of our life. We get so busy with life that we forget to set aside time to be grateful. We’re so wrapped up in everyday life that we never stop long enough see how blessed we are.
Another reason for a lack of gratitude is that we’re too consumer oriented, we approach life as if it’s a big shopping trip in which the name of the game is acquiring more. We get so focused on acquiring the material possessions that we desire that we for get to be grateful for the basic things that God has blessed us with like hot water, a warm bed at night or health insurance. The primary reason that we’re so busy and given to consumerism is that we take everything for granted and we forget to show gratitude to God for all that he has given us.
Ever notice that ungrateful people are always stressed out? The reason they’re so stressed out is that they’re ungrateful. People who are ungrateful believe that they’ve done it all themselves. If you believe you’ve done it all yourself in the past then you probably believe that it’s all up to you in the future. You don’t need people. You don’t need God. You just carry the load yourself, the result is a stressed-out life.
Deut. 8:10 – “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.”
Ungrateful people seem to have no joy. Ungrateful people are never satisfied and they’re always stressed out, the result is going to be a lack of joy.
Prov. 10:28 – “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”
Heb. 12:28 – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
How do you develop a life of gratitude and “so worship God acceptably, when the economy isn’t good, when things aren’t going your way, when our nation is at war, when the world seems like it’s going crazy?
The Bible gives us three keys to developing a life of gratitude. First, recognize that everything is a gift from God. The first building block when developing a life of gratitude is to remember who gave us what we have in the first place. We’re very good at getting, but we seem to quickly forget who gave us everything we have. Have you ever gone to McDonalds with your kids or grandkids? You let them order the meal they want. You pay for it. Then when you sit down at a table and reach out and take one of their fries, what do they say? They say, “Hey! Those are my fries!” You made it possible for your kids or grandkids to be able to have them in the first place? But those fries are now “they’re fries!” Likewise, we have a tendency to forget that everything we have isn’t really ours – it’s really God’s.
Along with recognizing that everything that we have is a gift of God, we should also, recall what God has done. We sing: Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One, I actually think that’s a profitable thing to do. What is it that you’re grateful for? One thing that you notice when you read the Bible is how many times thankful people recall all that God has done for them
Ps. 103:2 – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…”
Ps. 103:3, 10-12 – “3Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” “10-12 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give you what you deserve? Instead aren’t you glad that God gives you what you need? If you don’t understand God’s grace; if your heart doesn’t explode with gratitude when you contemplate His grace, then you don’t have a clue of the shape you were in before you met Christ. I can sum it up in one word: HOPELESS, You had no meaning, no purpose in your life. Instead it was filled with guilt, fear, bitterness, worry, and regrets. You had nothing you could do to get rid of those things. You had no hope for the future. You were headed for hell instead of heaven. You could never have been good enough to earn your salvation. But God came alone in His wonderful love and said, “I’m going to show you grace.”
Finally, resolve to give thanks in every circumstance. Many of us are waiting for ideal circumstances before we’re thankful. I have to admit, sometimes I’m waiting for things to get better to be thankful or for God to demonstrate something miraculous. What are you waiting on? For your health to improve? For your relationships to get better? For your bills to be paid? For the time that you can sit back in your E-Z chair and say, “Life is good. I’m finally thankful”? But that’s not what the Bible teaches!
1 Thess. 5:16-18 – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
So give thanks just because without Him we are nothing