THE PROBLEM WITH INGRATITUDE
It closes the heart to receiving. The elder brother said, “You never gave me a kid so that I might make merry with my friends” (Luke 15:29), and he didn’t expect it from a stingy dad. Ingratitude brings two dangerous outlooks–victimization and entitlement. They will paralyze you! Guaranteed.
Ingratitude puts you in bad company. Jesus said that His Father “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35). I wouldn’t put those two words in the same sentence—but Jesus did! Ingratitude brings you into a stinking crowd. Paul said that “there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful…” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). He concluded with a warning: “Have nothing to do with them.”
Ingratitude places you in the enemy’s camp. No one has ever shown greater ingratitude than Lucifer, the most beautiful creature God ever made. And yet he envied God and staged a coup on the throne. How stupid can you get?! Ingratitude turned him into the ugliest creature in the universe. And he’s never had a grateful thought since. So would you agree with me that ingratitude is serious, not a little sin? On the other hand–
THE POWER OF GRATITUDE
It makes you shine. Thankful people are fun to be around and exude a radiant countenance. I don’t have to tell you that ungrateful and grouchy people are at the opposite end. Would your friends call you a grateful person?
Gratitude allows you to receive grace from heaven, because you don’t feel like you are entitled to it. When you have a grateful heart, you always feel like you are being blessed. You can’t help it—God simply pours it on. Think prodigal. If you don’t enjoy healthy, holy, happy relationships, ingratitude may be a root cause.
Gratitude connects you to important people–like parents. If you want to draw closer, express thanks for what they have done, not what they haven’t. (And if they are still drawing breath, it’s not too late). My friend Jacob did it as a college freshman. I asked why he was not looking forward to thanksgiving. He answered, “They don’t talk about spiritual things, and they still treat me like a teenager” (which he was). I told him to write a letter of gratitude, make it long, and write it out freehand, because Mom will treat it as a trophy. He did. I’ve seen the parents four times since. Every time they bring up the letter. It changed their home–for years. Way to go, Jacob! Gratitude is powerful!!
Gratitude and generosity are siblings. Generous people cause thanksgiving to rise to heaven: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous to every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). If you have learned generosity, you probably picked up gratitude along the way.
When? “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (Psalm 30:12).
Why? “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever” (Psalm 118.1).
How? “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4).
Who? “Surely the righteous will give thanks to your name” (Psalm 140:13).