The thing about Thanksgiving is that people don’t really understand gratitude. While there are some exceptions, most people in this country are relatively spoiled. Now I’m not saying we don’t have to work hard. And I’m not saying we don’t struggle. But for the most part, we have lived in the land of overflowing.
Long since the days of those who lived among the greatest generation. They were an entirely different people. Hardship, poverty, laborious hours of work, compounded by war and depression. The challenges they faced were extreme. I don’t think we could handle that today.
Americans today, well, we are different. Perhaps not as tough as our forefathers. I hate to say it but there is a softness and maybe some entitlement. And with that comes a spirit of unsatisfied. We are definitely among the most who complain. In the land of abundance, there is always something to whine about. It seems to come so easy and is disturbingly natural. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some who aren’t content unless they are complaining.
We complain when our coffee drink is not made to our order. We complain when we have to wait in line. We complain when the server doesn’t quickly refill our beverage. And on it goes. Such first world problems. The attitude is shameful.
But what is all the more perplexing is when that behavior takes over the believer. Complaining becomes habit. Our frustrations fester and consume and we determine we must be heard. Little things become big. Inconveniences frustrate. And as we mull things over in our minds, our entitled nature becomes the dominant presence. What happened to gratitude? Where’s the joy?
Times may have changed but people, well we often remain the same. In fact, we’re no different than the Israelites. Are you kidding me? Manna again? Grumbling, complaining, whining…. Those aren’t fruits of the spirit. They are weeds of destruction that are detrimental to the body. And when we live in such a way, the only difference between us and the world is we profess an allegiance to God while mirroring a defunct world.
What person would ever want to be part of a body or religion who seem so dissatisfied? Is our heartbeat one of grumbling and complaining? If it is, that type of ungodliness is toxic.
God calls us to be a people of gratitude. Yes, even when things don’t go our way. Even when things are messy. God reminds us to be thankful, not a drippy faucet.
Sometimes life will be hard, and even painful. Sometimes programs may not run exactly the way we like. Sometimes situations and circumstances are just prickly. And, sometimes, people are difficult. But are we complaining more than praying? Are we tearing down more than building up? Have we developed a root of bitterness and a spirit of grumbling? There’s nothing of Christ in that behavior or attitude. Don’t be a useful tool of the enemy.
It is a mindset, a posture shift. A determination to fix our hearts on what he has done and be grateful. Look, there is and will always be something to complain about. And complaining is easy. It’s a natural innate response. But as believers, we are to die to that and allow Jesus to create a heart of gratitude.
We’ve been given so much. We’ve been blessed. This Thanksgiving may we come to the full and complete understanding of what Christ has done. May the reality of salvation bring us to our knees in utter gratitude. May we work hard to escape the bondage of complaint and be filled with joy overflowing in thankfulness.