Mind of the Missionary
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” (Psalm 107.1a)
As I was preparing for this month, I ran across this interesting article on “3 Root Causes of Ungratefulness” by Kristen Clark of Living with Gratitude Ministries. They are envy, entitlement, and unrealistic expectations. This is how she describes each one.
First of all, envy is a condition of people who walk through life painfully obsessed by the advantages enjoyed by others. This strong desire within them causes significant resentments leading to anger and unhappiness. Next, entitlement is a belief that one deserves certain privileges, benefits, or advantages. These individuals value relationships based on what others can give them and are dissatisfied when they don’t get what they feel they deserve. Third, unrealistic expectations are like having the ability to read the mind of others, or dropping everything to accommodate their needs, or feeling others should give, give, give, while they give nothing in return.
This attitude appears to be quite common in our world today. It is not that it hasn’t been present before, but with technology and media being what it is, ungratefulness is shoved in our faces. Paul wrote, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him,…” (Romans 1.21a)
However, thanksgiving must be the believer’s attitude. I believe there are at least 3 ways to move from ungratefulness to gratitude. One is recognizing that we don’t deserve anything. As a followers of Christ, we should understand that we don’t deserve God’s love, mercy, faithfulness, and especially his forgiveness, but He did it even when we didn’t deserve it. Romans 5.8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Our understanding that we don’t deserve anything helps us to appreciate all that we have.
The second recognition is what we do have, it all comes from God. Now, that is a different way of looking at life, isn’t it? Everything-our family, our job, our house, our car, our health, our car, our food-everything comes from God. Jesus said, “If anyone comes after me, deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9.23) By denying ourselves, we begin to see from God what it is we truly need and then, He’ll provide it. I’m not there yet!
Finally, the third movement is recognizing God for who He is. Maybe, I should have put this as the first point because if we, as followers of Christ, get this right, then gratitude becomes much easier. According to one source, there are 955 names for God. Here are 8 of them: ELOHIM – My Creator; JEHOVAH – My Lord God; EL SHADDAI – My Supplier; ADONAI – My Master; JEHOVAH JIREH – My Provider; JEHOVAH ROPHE – My Healer; JEHOVAH NISSI – My Banner; and JEHOVAH MARADESH – My Sanctifier. As we read and study God’s Word, the descriptions and names for God are found within its pages. This helps us to discover more and more who He is and who He isn’t. Our growing understanding of God helps us understand how best to talk to Him as well as what to expect from Him.
May you all have a Blessed Thanksgiving by recognizing God and knowing that all we have comes from Him!
Until next month,