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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Suited for Success”
It goes without saying that I’ve been on both side of the dynamic in this episode. There are times I’ve gone out of my way to do something good or nice or thoughtful for someone only to have them show little to no appreciation for it. That’s on their end, however, and I know I should do things because they are good, not simply to get praise for them. Sadly, however, my errors have mostly been on the opposite side of the equation… There are many times people have done good and thoughtful things for me that showed a great deal of care and concern and, for one reason or another, I failed to show gratitude.
As a child I was especially guilty of this. Christmas or a birthday comes along, I see a big wrapped present, I opened it up and, instead of a favorite toy, I see clothes. I know kids aren’t exactly the most thoughtful or forward thinking, but I’m embarrassed even today of my lack of gratitude…and you can bet my parents let me have it. Nowadays, however, what’s far more upsetting is when someone does something nice or kind for me for no other reason than “just because”, and I’m so distracted by work or projects or chores or even on whatever I’m doing to relax that I practically brush them off or hardly acknowledge them.
And, of course, at the top of the list for crimes of ingratitude is taking the biggest thing for granted: my salvation in Jesus Christ. While I believe it is important to have praise and worship regularly, I sometimes get the sense that eventually it all becomes “white noise”. Or that I become so used just to “asking God for things” in prayer that I never thank him for everything I already have. Or I simply think of the Christian life as something routine or mundane to begin with, forgetting what is supposed to be the “Spirit of God” alive in me and that I am to be the “Light of the World”.
The Bible is full of admonitions toward thanksgiving as well as remembering what we have to be thankful for. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Colossians 3:17 also says: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In the Old Testament, in Psalm 50:23, God himself says: “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” And in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul says: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
I don’t think all of these exhortations to praise are simply because God likes hearing us say great things about him and “thank you” all the time. It helps keep things in perspective. If I’m more grateful for what I have and thankful for it, odds are I’ll be less prone to coveting other things, devoted to trying to acquire more, or jealous toward others for what they have that I don’t. It helps keep me aware of the blessings of God in my life that I have and to not only appreciate my abundance but want to share it with others. It reminds me of how much I have been forgiven and blessed so I will have a greater desire to share what I have received and the Good News with others. It helps me maintain a positive outlook on my circumstances in all situations.
Last but not least, in regards with gratitude toward others who aren’t God, it’s a way of expressing my own love and appreciation for their thoughtfulness and kindness in my life. And I don’t know about you, but when someone gives me a smile or a thank you or appreciates something good I’ve done, I feel like doing more good in the future. And I think promoting more people through the world doing good continuously is something we could all use.
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, all I wish to say right now is thank you so much for the gift of eternal life and salvation, for all the blessings you have put in my life (name them), and for all of the wonderful people you have put in my life (name them). Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”