During this Thanksgiving season, it is appropriate to highlight an anonymous quote that goes like this: “If you can’t find anything for which to be thankful, then make up your mind that there is something wrong with you.”
Ingratitude is considered one of the biggest sins, not because it’s bigger, really, but because it’s so fundamentally basic to the sinfulness of our human nature. It goes to the core of our selfishness and pride.
Henry Ward Beecher is quoted as saying: “Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”
Everyone has reason to give thanks and say thanks. We should never be hesitant to say thanks to God many times a day. God never gets bored with our thankfulness and praises. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) we’re told: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It was Cicero, the first-century Roman philosopher who said: “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
In Acts 27:35 (NIV), the Scripture says: “After he said this, he (Paul) took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.” This text is talking about Paul’s experience when the ship on which he was being taken to Rome was about to run aground and be broken into pieces. The ship’s crew hadn’t eaten for a period of time and Paul urged them to eat, but before they ate, Paul offered a prayer of thanks to God in front of everyone.
Do you give thanks in the presence of other people? Do you hesitate to give thanks for your meal in public places, including a restaurant?
While you need not make a big deal out of praying in public, it is a big deal to God any time you give thanks to Him. We must be thankful, whether people notice us or not, because God will notice us whenever and wherever we are thankful to Him. And God blesses those who are humble and thankful.
Finally, in the midst of a world that is always asking for things, we must possess a spirit of giving thanks. Philippians 4:6 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
There is nothing wrong with asking, but there is something definitely wrong with not giving thanks. Allow thankfulness to slay the sin of ingratitude.
Donald G. King is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.