We all face the temptation to not be thankful. The only reason we are ultimately unthankful is if we are not satisfied with our lives, and though it hurts us to say so, if we are not satisfied with the God who gave us this life. We seldom break it down to this degree. We like to think that we really are satisfied with life except for some really small inconveniences that we want to get fixed. But if we are honest, this is not really the case. If you get the big problems fixed, the little ones become comparatively insignificant. While I do not want to make light of serious trials and suffering, this is also true of these hard providences. For even then, having a godly perspective enables us to live in joy, even in earthly sorrows. And this is not contradictory.
For most of us, life swims along at a pleasant pace and we do not give ultimate ideas much time in thought. We spend our days worried about tonight’s dinner, getting the Christmas letter out, wrapping presents, dealing with the extended family, wondering if we’ll have enough money to pay our bills once our spending on presents is accounted for. For some, these worries set in as thieves to steal away true joy, particularly, the joy of the reason for doing all of these things. The answer to this is right thinking and right thinking usually comes when one steps back to gain proper perspective.
What do you have that has not been given to you by the hand of a benevolent Father? What do you lack that has not been held back from you by the hand of a benevolent and wise Father? Behind all of our good and pleasant gifts and behind all of our good and unpleasant gifts is a God who is intimately concerned with us. We must receive all that he brings us knowing that He has thought well about what He is doing, about what kind of gifts He is dispensing.
Of course, at this time of year, we also receive gifts from others, all of whom are not as thoughtful as our God. Some of them do not give us the perfect gifts. Our tendency may be to be disappointed or unthankful. But I must remind you that behind even their unthoughtful gift is a thoughtful God. God has given you such parents, such friends, such children. And He has determined that their gift is fitting for you. But I didn’t want…but it doesn’t fi….but I hate this color… but I, but I, I, I, I, I, I…..Starting to get the point?
It is a blessing to get. The Bible clearly teaches this. We should rejoice in the fact that others love us so much that they give of their substance to us. Getting presents is a good thing. But it is better to give than to receive. We must make our receiving full of grace and thankfulness and we must seek to learn the blessedness of giving over and above the blessedness of getting. God showed us the way by sending His Son. He receives us but He gave a better gift than the one He got back. Let us learn the lesson. And let us learn that all of God’s gifts to us are good. Be thankful. And if you are tempted to be unthankful in getting, then learn to be completely thankful in giving. And may God be honored and praised at the end of the day for all of it.