Being Thankful—a Reminder

Have you ever gone out of your way to do something nice for someone, only to have them reject it? Or even worse, criticize you for it? Or perhaps someone wanting a favor came and demanded it of you, instead of asking nicely. Doesn’t feel very good, does it?

Pete and I once donated a car to a person with few resources. It had been donated to us some years earlier, and we thought to pass along the blessing. But instead of appreciating our generosity, this person complained that the car wasn’t good enough. Somehow, things got twisted around in his mind and we were accused of forcing an inferior gift on him. Even our willingness to pay for the new license plate was taken as “going to the DMV with him to make sure he accepted the gift.” He could have said no. Instead, he accepted the gift but whined about it.There was no sign of gratitude.

I don’t have to tell you how this made us feel. We could have sold the car and received several thousand dollars—money we could have used in our ministry. Instead, we followed God’s prompting and tried to be generous.

The next time we had an opportunity to bless this person, I confess that we didn’t follow through. Instead, I felt resentful. I started avoiding him. The negative feelings built until I realized I had a forgiveness issue, and I had to repent of my horrid attitude.

Sadly, we often treat God the way this person treated us. He blesses us and we act as if it’s our due. We demand things instead of humbly asking for them. We look at the gifts he gives us and complain that they aren’t good enough.

When we do these things, how do you think God feels? Will we continue to receive his blessings?

Every November, we have a holiday to remind us to be thankful. Just seeing it appear on the calendar makes me start counting my blessings. But what about the rest of the year? Do I remember to tell God how very much I appreciate all He has done for me? Do I tell God how much I appreciate Him?

Our church typically serves communion at the end of every service. This Sunday, as I ate the cracker and drank the sip of grape juice, I realized that I’ve been less thankful than I should be. We’ve had some unwelcome issues over the past few months. My response has been to grumble and complain.

Thanking Jesus for his body and blood got me started thanking Him for much, much more. I’m even thanking Him for the challenges we’re currently facing. If I believe the scriptures, they are His blessings in disguise:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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