We are a bombarded daily by selfish indulgent behavior. Children grow up in a culture of entitlement and handouts. The old proverb that says beggars can't be choosy has never met a trick or treater on Halloween.
It is a challenge to teach your children to be grateful when they watch their parents complain because they didn't get what they paid for and the service was lousy. Americans have become so comfortable with their US lifestyle those who have grown up in other culture can be heard to say "ah, first world problems." I mean it is tuff when my internet isn't as fast as I want it or I can't get cell coverage in every nook and cranny of the country. Even the guy in the commercial can talk to google in the Grand Canyon.
Gratitude is a lost characteristic. We revel in Halloween and can't wait for Christmas. In between Thanksgiving is just a long weekend of overeating. Why is gratitude such a hard characteristic to cultivate?
First, pain blinds us to the kindness of God. Pain reveals the emptiness of our soul. When everything is going well the emptiness is filled with people, things, and activity. But when we experience pain the curtain is pulled back and the emptiness can be seen. If the pain is small we get agitated and complain. If the pain is insurmountable we experience doubt and hopelessness.
Secondly, we fight the human tendency of expectations. Why should I say thank you for something you are suppose to do? Why should I should I say thank you for something I didn't ask you to do? Why should I say thank you for your kindness and rob you of your eternal reward?
Thirdly, gratitude acknowledges community dependency. Gratitude is always given in the context of others doing a kindness for someone else. If you a loner you don't like expressing gratitude because you would rather people just leave you alone. Being grateful means you have to put up with other people.
The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians to be thankful always and in everything. The context is living in unity with one another. They were to overlook the cult of self satisfaction and be grateful in every situation. They were to find where God was working and acknowledge his hand in the details. They were to express the positive in others and their contributions to the community. They were to thank God for even the most irritating individual they knew.
Having a heart of gratitude is a barometer of our spiritual condition. The more grateful we are the closer we are to Christ. If someone tells me they have a good relationship with God and yet are ungrateful for their blessings they are deceived. Cultivating a heart of gratitude causes us to continually seek God, because life throws circumstances at us that are difficult to be thankful for. During those times we submit to Christ, seek godly wisdom, and express gratitude for the blessings we do have, big and small. When we do that our hearts are more at peace, we cultivate unity in the body, and each day is worth experiencing.
Don't let your circumstance blind you to the kindness of God. Shake off the troubles of this world for just a moment and allow God's grace to consume you. That is something to be thankful for. I'm just saying.
Ephesians 5:20, "giving thanks always and for everything in the of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."