Does it make a difference if you’re appreciative? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yesterday, my pastor preached a sermon on faithfulness and thankfulness from Colossians. The pastor isn’t one of those guys who gives these lightweight sermons that’s all pure application. Nope. It all comes out of a deep theology and I greatly respect that.
My wife also struggles with depression due to Borderline Personality Disorder and when we meet with people to talk about this topic, one of the things that most often comes up is the importance of gratitude. Try to go to bed with gratitude at the end of every day. If anything, just give thanks that the day is finally over.
Thankfulness is extremely important. In Romans 1, we are even told that one of the reasons that the wrath of God comes on man is that they did not acknowledge God nor give thanks to Him. The danger with thankfulness not being present is it makes us take things for granted. That includes even the greatest blessings of our lives.
Last night as I was going to sleep, I started thinking about this whole idea again. I have plenty of friends I know who are single and it is not because they want to be. I understand the pain very well. Until Allie came into my life, I had the same situation. You go to bed every night and you want someone to be next to you. As a guy, part of that is naturally wanting to be able to have sex, but also just being able to share your life with a woman you love and who loves you.
If I cease to give thanks for her and the life we share together, am I not on the path of taking her for granted? I treat her as if she’s just obviously there, but she isn’t. God doesn’t owe me another minute with her. Should I not celebrate what I do have?
Of course, every marriage will have problems and struggles in it. That’s just going to happen when you have two sinful people living together and sharing their lives intimately, but all of those are worth it to get to spend the time with the love of my life. If I take her for granted, I will also be prone to mistreat her and let the relationship deteriorate.
Also, next month, my wife and I will be celebrating nine years together. This is something incredible to me. Allie has been in my life for about a quarter of it. For her, I have been in her life for about a third of it. (I am nearly ten years older than she is.) How can I not give thanks?
Sometimes skeptics raise the question about why God takes lives in the Old Testament. I always start this by asking the same question. What does God owe us? If we could say He owes us anything, it’s justice. Here we receive mercy, which is something we don’t deserve, and we complain about it instead.
Many of you know that my wife and I don’t have a lot of money now. Donations don’t come easy when you’re not officially a 501c3 on your own and even then, it’s still hard. It doesn’t mean I don’t give thanks. Everyday is an adventure in its own way. We have had super generous friends who have donated so much to us and we are extremely thankful.
Two cases come to mind. At men’s group at our church last year, we talked about coveting and I expressed how Allie had really wanted a Nintendo Switch but her folks said it was too expensive. I said it was hard when I knew my wife really wanted something and couldn’t provide it.
A couple of weeks later someone from the group spoke to my wife about that conversation. He ended up buying us a Switch.
My wife and I also like the Pokemon games. I made a post about a month ago about how I would be saving up Amazon credit so I could get them both of us. A friend told us not to worry. When they came out, he would buy them for us.
These are two blessings that come to mind. People don’t have to be generous, but they are, and I have told Allie that if we ever get to the point of prosperity on our own, I plan to be generous. One of the greatest kindnesses you can do is go to your neighbor and help give them something they need or want. I can easily say I have not forgotten these blessings and they give me hope whenever I think about them that our situation can change.
And you know what? When I find myself giving thanks like this, I find my mood does improve. I really do appreciate things and see so much more what blessings I have in my life. It leaves me in greater appreciation to the God who gives so much to me.
Strange thing, isn’t it? Paul is right. Giving thanks to God is extremely important. Perhaps we could all be improved by giving thanks.