“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Something happened to me recently that made me feel a bit convicted. I’ve been concerned about money. I know that the Lord will provide my needs, but I’ve still been fretting over it. In this worry, my heart was growing bitter, and even though I didn’t say anything out loud, I was grumbling silent complaints when the money I had left my fingers—especially if it was in generosity to others, or if it was to pay off a sudden, unexpected expense. I was in this state when a question hit me: “Why are you complaining?” The question struck a deeper cord. I have a lot to be thankful for, and much of it I haven’t done anything to earn; it’s simply a gift from God. I have a job, a good family, a healthy church, lots of friends that somehow tolerate my presence, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a prosperous country. That little voice in the back of my mind reminded me, “Life’s pretty good, so what’s wrong with you?”
When I took the time to remember all of the good things that are in my life, and more importantly to thank God for them, my heart’s condition improved. Having a heart of thankfulness makes a difference, compared to a heart of indignation. When the you feel that you’re not being treated fairly, or that you deserve more, then it’s easy to get upset; after all, no one likes feeling like they’re being taken advantage of. We see this all the time with children, celebrities, political dignitaries, and bitter relatives, but it just as easily can come from our own hearts.
If you recall the blessings you’ve experienced from God but have taken for granted, then it makes you grateful for what you have. After all, many of those things are not deserved. Remember the surprise presents, or that unexpected mercy from a police officer that pulled you over, or moments that just put a smile on your face and made you say, “Thank you.” Instead of coveting the things you crave, or bemoaning the struggles you have, it will bring so much more joy to you—not to mention to God—when you remember to count and consider all of the great gifts that God has rained down from heaven.