I know that Thanksgiving is a week away, I wanted to start my Thanks early. It is so easy to take things for granted. We live in a wonderful, free country. We are well fed. We have a roof over our heads, and money in our pockets. It's true, we might not be as well off as some, but compared to most of the world we are rich. We are not only blessed materially, we are blessed with friends, family, and a future.
But, in spite of all this, we are sometimes slow to acknowledge our blessings. Because we have grown so accustomed to them, we take them for granted. It's easy to do. Occasionally we need to be reminded of just what we have been taking for granted, and what we have to be thankful for. It is at special times, like Thanksgiving, that we are able to focus our attention on the things which really count.
This American holiday of Thanksgiving is a special time of the year. It is a time when we look back on the blessings God has given us, and a time when we look forward to the blessings we will enjoy in eternity. Additionally, we can focus in on the present and celebrate the greatest gift of all, the gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ.
But Thanksgiving, the day, reminds of us thanksgiving, the attitude. What we need to cultivate is an attitude of gratitude. The reason is simple. We live in a day of ingratitude. Aristotle recognized this when he said, "What soon grows old? Gratitude." The Bible describes the last days in this way: "For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:2-4). One of the characteristics mentioned in this litany of bad character is that of being "ungrateful." This characterizes our day.
Why are there so many complainers? I heard of a recent medical survey which states that chronic complainers live longer than people who are always sweet and serene. It claims that their cantankerous spirit gives them a purpose for living. Each morning they get up with a fresh challenge to see how many things they can find to grumble about, and they derive great satisfaction from making others miserable. Do you suppose that this is true? I doubt it. It seems to me that it is questionable whether those who complain actually do outlive those who don't. Maybe it just seems that way to everybody around them.
None of us like to be around complainers. Therefore, none of us should want to be a complainer. Samuel Johnson said, "Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people." One thing that I do not want to be is gross. You shouldn't want to be gross either. In fact, all people ought to be thankful. And of all who ought to be thankful, those who know Jesus Christ ought to be especially thankful.