I personally don’t think that there is anything more beautiful than a gracious, thankful Christian who is content in the “joy of the Lord,” whether rich or poor.
There is something wonderfully humble about a gracious Christian woven together with a heart of expectation. They live in the truth that God is good and His mercies are new every day of our lives. The heart that we see in these people is a constant attitude of prayer and thanksgiving for the little and big things.
Little things, like my next breath, are simply gracious gifts from my heavenly Father. He owes me nothing, yet He freely and graciously covers me with good gifts.
But it’s easy to lose sight of these little, good gifts. Our hearts and minds can begin to believe that the Lord “owes us something.” When this happens, we think we deserve our next breath and His blessings.
It is so easy to fall into this type of thinking. This is one of the obvious sins of our culture. This message comes at us 24/7, and the “sins of the culture” can easily become the “sins of the church.”
The attitude that "God owes me" is devastating for the heart of a believer. Look at what Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:
"What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7b)
Paul’s point is this: everything is a gift. The Christian life should be one of constant praise and thanksgiving because...
- God gave me my life.
- God gave me my new life in Christ.
- God gives me gifts and talents to be used for His glory.
- God’s mercy and grace plays a role in every circumstance of my life.
Jesus did this. He said, “Thank You, Father” in many different circumstances, including…
- At the cross
- In the tomb
- When resurrected
- When ascending to heaven
- When seated at the right hand of the Father
In every circumstance, we believers have this same joy. We have the joy of Christ himself!
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11)
Brothers and sisters, we must fight in our hearts to praise God for His goodness and mercy in the midst of “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” When our praise and thanksgiving is offered continually to the Father, the Holy Spirit will allow you and me to live graciously and joyfully among those around us.
That is what Jesus meant when He said, "let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
We need to live with an “attitude of gratitude,” and let God use us as lights in this dark and broken world.
The skeptic has no one to thank, but the Christian should be full of thanksgiving daily. Our priority is to live full of gratitude to our loving Savior. And we should also be quick to thank, praise, and encourage those around us as we are gracious to all people.
As we gather with our friend and family this weekend, let us give thanks to one another and to the King of Glory.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.