Abraham Lincoln, 1863, October 3.
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey His will, be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. Whereas both houses of Congress have by their joint committees have requested me to recommend to the people of the United States, a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government peaceably, for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty sixth of November next, to be devoted by the people of these states, to be of service to that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
Comparison is The Kiss of Death of Gratitude.
I don’t need a thing until I compare myself to somebody else. Bigger, better, newer, more! Comparison is the kiss of death of gratitude. When you start comparing yourself to what someone else has, what the mall has, what the Apple Store has, whatever it is that you want has, when you start comparing yourself to them, you become ungrateful. If you have the resources and all that, I’m not saying don’t do that stuff; don’t hear me say that. I’m just saying it works against a grateful heart, when we compare ourselves to other people, other things, other possessions, other stuff that they have.
I could own three hundred watches and buy a new car every year because I love watches and cars. Its this disease I have. I don’t know what it is. When I compare those things to other things, “Well you know I don’t have one that looks like that, I think I’ll get another watch.” I have the money to do it, but do I need to do it? You have the freedom. But when you compare yourself to what other people have who may have a little more than you, you become ungrateful for what you have.
Thankfulness Defends Against Bitterness and Self Preoccupation.
It is an absolute truth. You show me a bitter person; I’ll show you an ungrateful person. You show me a joyful person; I will show you a thankful person. It is as simple as visiting assisted living, retirement center and talking to some people who are older and have some struggles. They fall in one of two categories; they’re bitter or they’re sweet. But just getting old and ornery is not an excuse for being ungrateful and not having joy. Thankfulness can’t preoccupy preoccupation of self. It can’t occupy the same space.
A joyful person who understands he or she has been blessed is a thankful person. A critical person, is a bitter person, a self preoccupied person is not a thankful person, is not a joyful person. It is a corollary; impossible for the two in the same room. Some of us live in a painful waiting room. I’m sitting in waiting rooms a lot in different seasons of my life, so sorry, my world view becomes a waiting room. I look at these people’s eyes and faces and I can tell you the pain they live with, and I can tell you how I’ve tried to cope, and everybody’s tried to cope and we all share notes.
You may not be there right now. You may be healthy as a horse. God bless you for it. Enjoy it while you can. You may die that way, but this life is going to be a painful waiting room at times and I have to make the determination, I don’t want to be a bitter person. Only with Christ help, can I fight it off.
Thankfulness Requires Humility.
When someone does something for you, that’s when you say, “Thank you.” Self absorbed people are not thankful people as I’ve already tried to argue. Arrogant people, people who live with an entitlement mindset. You know the personal right thing, we’ve made these little gods out of personal rights. Now entitlement has become so much a part of our mindset, we think we deserve stuff.
Entitlement is an enemy of thankfulness. When they go to Peru, or Guatemala or wherever, they get a real recalibration that you can have fun with a soccer ball in the dirt, playing soccer with no technology and no toys and just a big old smile on your face because you get to play with your friends. Entitlement works against thankfulness. Thankfulness requires humility.
You know what we deserve? You know what our entitlement is? Hell. You and I are entitled to hell. That’s what we’re entitled to. Each of us deserves hell and God and His kindness saved you. The leper comes back, a picture of you and me, and throws himself at the feet of Jesus, glorifying God and says thank you.Eucharisteo is the word. Thank you. (English translation of Greek word)Where are the nine? Weren’t they healed also? Are you the one or are you the nine?
The Believer’s Perspective
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and He saved you and you trusted Christ; If Jesus never did one more thing for you as long as you lived, would you still be thankful? If He never answered your prayer: He never helped you with a problem; He never mended your broken heart; He never gave you the dream job you wanted to; He never found you the husband or wife you wanted; He never having to reconcile with your ex-husband, ex wife, your kids who have broken your heart?
Now I don’t think that’s our God. I think our God is a merciful, wonderful, loving, compassionate, long-suffering, patient, kind, lavishing, things on us that we don’t deserve. But I almost have to overcompensate and say, “Michael, if He never did one more thing for you, would you praise Him nonetheless?” And that’s when you begin to understand your salvation.
Did you miss Part I? Listen here.