Days are too long,
Sunshine’s too hot,
Wind is too strong.
Clouds are too fluffy,
Grass is too green,
Ground is too dusty,
Sheets are too clean.
Stars are too twinkly,
Moon is too high,
Water’s too drippy,
Sand is too dry.
Rocks are too heavy,
Feathers too light,
Kids are too noisy,
Shoes are too tight.
Folks are too happy
Singin’ their songs.
Why can’t they see it?
– Mr. Grumpledump’s Song by Shel Silverstein
Have you ever had one of those days when “everything’s wrong”? (Honestly, who hasn’t?) I’m sure we all can relate to this poem. There are some days when it seems we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and meet the day with a gloomy attitude like Mr. Grumpledump. On these days, no matter what good is in front of us, we wouldn’t see it if it hit us right upside the head! There’s a name for this condition: THANKLESSNESS. We can sugar-coat it all we want by blaming our attitude on outside factors, but it’s time we face the music: a thankless attitude is our own choice!
Here we are heading towards another Thanksgiving – one day out of 365 we Americans have set apart in which to be extra thankful…stuff our faces like there’s no tomorrow. Sadly, I can’t help thinking that on this day (as well as others) we’re not so thankful as we are…full. Most of us have everything we need and more, yet are not all that thankful for what we have. Instead, we whine and complain about the things that we don’t have, or how the things we do have aren’t just how we want them. This is not befitting for a child of God!
God’s word calls us not only to be genuinely thankful on Thanksgiving Day, but to be a thankful people every single day of the year. Maybe to some who are reading this, becoming thankful seems as unattainable as climbing Mount Everest. Perhaps you grew up in a home where complaining and dissastisfaction reigned, and rarely a word of thanksgiving was uttered. Maybe you’ve been a pessimist for years! If this is true for you, don’t fret. Thankfulness – like any true christian virtue – is a choice rather than a feeling. Every one of us can purpose today to be more aware of our blessings…and thanking the mighty God who has given us so much more than we deserve.
Today we are going to consider the five S’s that every Christian has to be thankful for. Even if it seems like everything’s wrong… even if it seems like your life is in absolute shambles…there are five blessings that no one can ever take away from you. Let’s take a few moments to recognize and honor them…
1. Our Salvation
Woah, woah, woah. Hold the phone. If I stopped here on point one I would have already mentioned far more than we deserve! You’re probably thinking “okay, Captain Obvious…everybody knows that we’re supposed to be thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice…” Yet this gift of salvation is sadly taken for granted by all of us at times. The sad thing is that we often don’t even think we do take it for granted.
Are we thankful for our salvation? I don’t mean the thankful facade that says apathetically: “I acknowledge that this is a nice thing that I have”. No, I mean actually thankful. Here is the test: Is it evident in our lives that this is the best gift we could have ever received? Do we show God every day just how thankful we are for having been sanctified? If not, today is the day to start!
How can we show thankfulness for our salvation?
– We can show thankfulness for our salvation by talking about it to our children. We must express to them how much better life in Christ is than life out in the wilderness. Then, we must model it with a cheerful disposition! No frumpy, dumpy, grouchy mom is going to convince her kids that becoming a christian is desirable. Thanklessness and thankfulness are both catching…let’s ask ourselves which we want our sons and daughters to grow into, and be that ourselves! Raising our children for Christ is a great way to show salvation appreciation.
– We can show thankfulness for our salvation by being content with less in this life. For every bad thing that happens to us, we can choose to let it destroy us – OR – we can let it serve as a humble reminder of the dead, cursed state of a world without God. Trouble serves to point us back to the cross and realize our great need for it, IF we let it have this effect. Had we not known pain in this world, how could we truly long for the joy of Heaven? Our attitudes towards our struggles can paint a great testimony to others of victory in Jesus.
– We can show thankfulness for our salvation by living it…daily! Thanking God with a cheerful disposition is good; avoiding complaining in the midst of affliction is also good. Yet neither one mean a whole lot if we are living the life of a sinner. The best way to say thank you to God for our salvation is by completely submitting ourself to His ways…the ways that are laid out in His holy book. Imagine a child saying to his parents “thanks for the food, Dad and Mom” as he proceeds to pick at it disgustedly and then dump it in the trash. It wouldn’t seem like he was all that thankful for it, would it? God isn’t fooled by our shoddy “gratitude”, either. Thankfulness isn’t merely a feeling, but a behavior to be expressed. “Thank You” isn’t just a nice thing to say, but something to show that we really mean!
Genuine thankfulness is an act of the heart’s affections, not an act of the lips’ muscles. – John Piper
Girls, 2 Corinthians 9:15 calls salvation an “unspeakable gift”. Do we believe this to be true? We must know this not only in our heads, but also in our hearts. Salvation is out of the park AMAZING – better than any other blessing we have. If we aren’t soberly thanking God for it every single day, how can we really be thankful for anything else?
Let it never be said of us that:
…when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. – Romans 1:21
Let us thank God daily for our Salvation.
2. Our Security
Security is to salvation as icing is to a cake. It just makes the christian life that much sweeter. We do not have a God who leaves us to our own demise as He looks carelessly on. We have a God who directs us and protects us!
Are we thankful for our security? We are so blessed to know that no matter what danger comes our way, we have security in Christ. Once we have been saved, nothing but our own choice will ever separate us from Heaven. We may in this life endure ridicule, cruelty, or even death…but we will never be ripped from our Lord.
How can we show thankfulness for our security?
– We can show thankfulness for our security by thinking courageously. There are many alarming things in life that can weigh on our minds, and give cause for fear. A fear of change…a fear of rejection…a fear of illness or death…a fear of failure…these are all very real concerns that can plague us all. Yet a thankful heart will not choose to dwell on fears such as these. When we worry, we’re sending the message that our hope in the next life is not enough to carry us through this one! When we have times of extreme worry and doubt, these are the times when we need to devote ourselves more earnestly to prayer. God will give us the peace of mind we need if we will simply let go of what’s weighing us down!
– We can show thankfulness for our security by speaking courageously. Many christians in this generation have lost their courage! We have turned into a wimpy people afraid of speaking out for fear of offending anyone. While it is true that we should not seek to be offensive, we also must be bold in sharing God’s truth. We can’t be paralyzed by fear of making someone dislike us! If we want others to join us in Heaven, we’re going to have to talk about God and speak out against sin. We might lose a few friends along the way, but it is a small price to pay when there are others who may be converted because of our courageous speech!
– We can show thankfulness for our security by living courageously. A person who is thankful for their security will not only be unafraid to think and speak courageously, but will also live in a courageous way. This means we will always do the right thing even if it makes us look and feel out of place. Let us not be afraid of the repercussions of Christ-like behavior. After all, this world is not our home!
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. – John 10:27-29
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. – Hebrews 13:5
Let us thank God daily for our Security.
3. Our Sorority
Not only has our great God so graciously given us salvation and security, but He has also given us a sorority to belong to – His church!
Are we truly thankful for the church? It’s no small gift that God has given us a place of respite from our worldly cares – a place where the common bond of Christ unites!
How can we show thankfulness for our sorority?
– We can show thankfulness for our sorority by never forsaking the assembly! How can we say we love Christ’s church if we don’t faithfully link ourselves with it? It is as absurd as saying “I love my husband. I’m thankful for him, but I don’t share his bed, make love to him, cook his meals, or do activities with him. I prefer to keep to myself.” Ummm….no, that’s not how it works. You must choose to be either in the fold or out! (Hint: choose to be in)
– We can show thankfulness for our sorority by uplifting it with our words! We must never gossip about our brothers and sisters in Christ, or put them down in any way to others. Rather, if we must rebuke someone, we should do it privately and in a spirit of love. When we are speaking of the church to the outside world? Let’s always put it in it’s best light for all to see! This is Christ’s bride we’re talking about. Jesus will not stand for us tearing her down!
– We can show thankfulness for our sorority by doing good to the brotherhood. We must do good to all men, but especially to those that are of the household of faith. We ought to be quick to say an encouraging word. Go out of our way to ease a fellow Christian’s workload. Invite them to spend time with us at our homes. I’m sure we can think of something to brighten a day!
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth. – 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Let us thank God daily for our Sorority.
4. Our Sanity
As christians, we have been blessed with sanity…a soundness of mind that is not present within the world. Our eyes have been opened to the truth!
Are we thankful for our sanity? Without it, we would be fumbling around in the dark. It is because of sanity that we made the conscious choice to become a follower of Christ. It is because of sanity that we continue to grow into a deeper relationship with the Father.
How can we show thankfulness for our sanity?
– We can show thankfulness for our sanity by studying God’s word daily. We must not let our bibles gather dust! A sane person must continually exercise their spiritual mind to keep it in sharp working order. Now we ought to be actively studying it, not solely reading it. Pleasure reading is not exactly what helps us to grow. Rather, we should desire to grow more and more in wisdom as we pore over scripture, striving to know truth to the fullest!
– We can show thankfulness for our sanity by helping others to see the light. If we truly value our sanity, will we not want others to experience this same enlightenment? Whether you are speaking to a seasoned christian or someone outside the faith, there is always a truth that can revealed that will help that individual to understand God on a more intimate level. If you have something important to teach, then teach it!
– We can show thankfulness for our sanity by avoiding the “wisdom” of the world. There will always be some high society bloke who will run at the mouth against God and make it sound logical. However, what a shame to listen to such folly! It doesn’t matter what anyone says…for the world’s wisdom is foolishness to God. Get away from those who would seek to destroy your sanity. If we listen to people who are anti-God then we just may find ourselves becoming a little more like them as time goes on. We must surround ourselves with godly influence lest we be deceived by the enemy!
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. – Romans 8:6
Let us thank God daily for our Sanity.
5. Our Skills
Last but certainly not least, every christian has skills – spiritual gifts that they have been given by God!
Are we thankful for our skills? The skills that we have enable us to work for the Lord in our own unique capacity. They give us a way to bring glory to our Lord while doing something we enjoy – something we were literally made for!
How can we show thankfulness for our skills?
– We can show thankfulness for our skills by recognizing them. So many people have yet to discover their Heaven-sent abilities. This is sad! If we don’t recognize our skills, then we can’t possibly understand or use them! Find out what you are good at. Is there anything you have a particular passion for that you can hone in on and use to further God’s kingdom?
– We can show thankfulness for our skills by understanding them. Once we have revealed what our unique spiritual gifts are, we must begin doing our homework on them! It’s a good idea to ask ourselves what the particular strengths and weaknesses are with our skills…when to use our skills and when to hold back…and how Satan might attempt to twist a skill we have to serve his purposes.
– We can show thankfulness for our skills by using them. A skill that sits on a dusty shelf doesn’t have much value; but a skill that is practiced towards perfection? A priceless asset! Don’t think that just because you are one person that it won’t matter what you do with your gifts. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Our Captain needs all hands on deck!
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 15:58
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. – Hebrews 6:10
Let us thank God daily for our Skills.
I hope that whenever you are having a Mr. Grumpledump sort of day, you will stop and remember the five S’s of thankfulness. We all need to remember that no matter what outside forces are working against us, we will always have (at the very least) these things to be thankful for. Not even death can separate us from our God-given salvation, security, sorority, sanity, or skills! Let us hide this in our hearts, and be glad. He is good!
I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving: thanks-living. How is this to be done? By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of Him by whose mercy we live, by a perpetual, constant delighting of ourselves in the Lord, and by a submission of our desires to His will. – Charles Spurgeon
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of thanksgiving. – W.T. Purkiser
For God’s Glory,
Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.