One of the things Paul identifies as being prevalent within the house of God during the end times is a spirit that will cause the hearts of many to be perpetually unthankful, or ungrateful. In the past we discussed the fact that the laundry list of things evident in the last days, such as men being lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, despisers of good, traitors and headstrong would be made manifest within the house of God rather than in the world, because these things have always existed, and will always exist in the world, and the hearts of those in the world.
What Paul, the Apostle of Christ is attempting to reveal to us, is that we would know that we are living in the last days when these things will begin to manifest in the church. Take any of the things Paul listed, from men being unholy, unloving, unthankful, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and one can readily see them within the church, out in the open, and abundantly so.
More often than not, whenever I preach a sermon on the need to be thankful and grateful to God for all His wondrous works and blessings, after the service someone will come up to me and after telling me of their hardships and trials, the fact that their home got foreclosed on, or that they lost their job, that they’ve been in poor health or that their spouse left, they ask the same question, ‘what should I be grateful for, when all these bad things are happening in my life?’
I am by nature an empathetic person, I feel the pain of others, and understand the struggles of this present life because I myself have gone through them, and continue to go through them. We must however look beyond the present, we must look beyond the sphere of the physical, beyond the tangible, corporeal things and possessions we’ve either lost or amassed, and see with spiritual eyes, those truly wondrous things we ought to be grateful for every day of our lives.
It is tragic and destructive for us as believers to dismiss the priceless spiritual things that God has given us, all the while coveting the worthless things of this world which we do not possess. I’ve known individuals who have grown bitter in their hearts due to the fact that they did not have an abundance of the worthless things of this world, all the while manifesting outright scorn for the priceless spiritual gifts that they took for granted, undervalued and altogether dismissed in their lives.
There is always something to be thankful and grateful for, if we are willing to look beyond the veil of the physical, and peer into the spiritual. There is always something for which we ought to fall to our knees in gratitude toward our loving Father, thanking Him for His loving kindness.
The first thing for which we should be perpetually grateful and thankful is the grace which God has made manifest in us.
Grace is a priceless gift, something no amount of money can buy, something no amount of works can earn; it is God’s expression of love toward those who receive His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, who turn their hearts toward Him, and serve Him.
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
We must be ever thankful and ever grateful for the grace of God, for it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, and not through a certain denomination, not through a certain ceremony, not through dead traditions, or our own works.
If ever you are at a loss for something to be grateful for, I would encourage you to reacquaint yourself with the hundred and third chapter, and see that there are plenty of things we should be grateful and thankful for. It is God who forgives our iniquities, it is God who heals our diseases, it is God who redeems our lives from destruction, it is God who crowns us with loving kindness, it is God who satisfies our mouths with good things, it is God who renews our strength like the eagle’s and the list goes on. We must be grateful for those things we take for granted every day, and those things we somehow feel entitled to. All things come from God, and all things belong to God, whether it is our health, our strength, our redemption, our forgiveness or our healing.
The second thing for which we should be perpetually grateful and thankful is the plan that God has for us and for our lives as individuals.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
It is vital for us to constantly remember, and constantly be grateful for the fact that God has a plan for our lives as individuals. Now some have taken this to mean that they should never see hardship or trial, that their lives should be a perpetual vacation, a lifetime of sunny days with no rain, and the enviable ability to eat as much cheesecake as they want without gaining an ounce. This mindset however is not biblical, because often times the plan of God includes pain, disappointment, and unanswered prayers. God knows the thoughts that He thinks toward us, and every valley that we must traverse, ever trial that we must endure, every hardship that we must carry are all for the glorious purpose of giving us a future and a hope.
The third thing for which we should be perpetually grateful and thankful is the home that God has prepared for us in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
If for no other reason than the knowledge that God has prepared an eternal home for us in the heavens, we as children of God, sanctified and redeemed in Christ and through Christ, should behold the future with joy and great expectation rather than fear and trepidation. We have nothing to fear from tomorrow, because even if our earthly house is destroyed, even if this tent is torn asunder, God has already prepared an eternal home for us, a home not made with hands, a home not temporal, a home not passing, but one which is eternal and everlasting. How much more grateful ought we to be for the eternal home that God has prepared for us, than for anything temporary or passing that He gives us while we are on this earth, and in these tents?
The fourth thing for which we should be perpetually grateful and thankful is the daily transformation that is taking place inside each of us. Daily God is molding, daily God is chiseling, daily God is transforming, making us into that which is pleasing in His sight. He loves us enough to transform us, He loves us enough to chisel us, and for this we must be ever grateful and thankful toward Him.
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
The knowledge that God will never ask anything of me without giving me the power, strength and ability to carry it out and fulfill it, not only gives me great joy, and comfort, but also reason to be ever thankful and grateful for His goodness and mercy.
These were just four of a plethora of reasons, for which we should be grateful and thankful toward God, and as you can see, there will never be a shortage of things to be grateful for. It is only when the hearts of men harden towards the love and mercy of God that they grow unthankful and ungrateful toward Him for His many blessings; it is only when the world holds sway over us that we dismiss the priceless things as though they were nothing at all. May we be wise servants, and as wise servants be ever grateful and thankful for all that God does for us and in us on a daily basis.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.