- Text: Col. 3:17.
- God is He who "gives to all life, breath, and all things" (Ac. 17:25) -- He is the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (Jas. 1:17).
- Being thankful is right -- we ought to be grateful to God - 1 Thess. 5:18. Cf. Psa. 92:1; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 4:2.
- But being thankful is good not only because it is right and holds the promise of God's favor -- it is good because of its influence on others.
I. The Sin of Unthankfulness
- Is there any more common sin than ingratitude? The simplest duties seem the hardest to fulfill. Cf. Lk. 17:15-18.
- What if God took back every blessing for which we are not properly grateful? Would we have anything left?
- Is there any greater sin than ingratitude? God has never looked lightly on the complainer - e.g. Num. 21:5,6.
- Sometimes our ingratitude is the result of not remembering what it was like to be without. There is a definite link between prosperity and unthankfulness - Deut. 8:3. Cf. vv.7-18.
- For example, the surest way to produce ungrateful children is to give them everything they want.
- Nothing hurts quite like ingratitude -- especially within a family. Cf. the sadness in Jn. 1:11.
- Not only is ingratitude a sin, but it is at the root of many other sins. It is the first step on the road that leads away from God - Rom. 1:21.
- We need to "count our blessings" -- sometimes even literally.
II. The Need to Express Our Thankfulness
- Thanksgiving to God, the "fruit of our lips," is a "sacrifice of praise to God" (Hb. 13:15).
- Unexpressed gratitude is not much better than ingratitude -- yet how often we make excuses: we did not have time, it was an oversight, etc.
- God has been gracious to each of us, but that grace will have been "in vain" (1 Cor. 15:10) if we do not properly:
- Receive it.
- Appreciate it.
- Express our gratitude for it.
- As with love, gratitude must be expressed with deeds as well as words. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:18.
- Ultimately, we show our gratitude to God by the help we give to others - Mt. 25:31-46.
III. The Effect of Thankfulness
- Being thankful is one way all of us can let our light shine -- and what a powerful influence it can have on those around us.
- As indicated, "expressing" our gratitude can mean:
- Expressing our gratitude to God for His blessings
- Expressing our gratitude to others for their kindness.
- It can also mean reflecting to others of our gratitude for God's blessings - Mk. 5:19. Cf. Psa. 105:1,2; 1 Pt. 2:9.
- We can set a good example by saying thanks before meals in the presence of others - Ac. 27:35.
- We can show how being thankful gives peace of mind, how gratitude for what is right diminishes anxiety about what is wrong - Phil. 4:6,7.
- We can draw others toward the family of God by showing real thankfulness for the privilege of being God's children (1 Jn. 3:1) -- and by letting it be known how much we appreciate our brethren in the Lord (Phil. 1:3).
- We can draw others toward the Lord by showing real thankfulness for the spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ - Eph. 1:3.
- Perhaps genuine thankfulness is such a potent influence for good because it is so rare and unexpected.
- Like Daniel, we need to let our light shine by being openly grateful to our God for His grace - Dan. 6:10.
- When we do that -- and also make a habit of expressing gratitude to others for what they do -- we will be amazed at the results.
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com