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Proper Gratitude

June 4, 2023

Dr. Paul Cannings

In his book, “Table Talk” Martin Luther wrote, “A hungry man is more thankful for his morsel than a rich man for his heavily laden table. A lonely woman in a nursing home will appreciate a visit more than a popular woman with a party thrown in her honor. A Russian who finally gets his copy of the Holy Scriptures after seventy-five years of state-imposed atheism is more thankful for his little book than we are for all the Christian books, magazines, and translations overflowing our shelves.”

“Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that if the constellations (any of 88 groups of stars forming patterns) appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But we barely give them a look because they’re there every night.”

“There is an imaginative story about a day when the sun did not rise. Six o’clock came and there was no sign of dawn. At seven o’clock, there was still no ray of light. At noon, it was as black as midnight. No birds sang, and only the hoot of an owl broke the silence. Then came the long black hours of the afternoon. Finally, evening arrived, but no one slept that night. Some wept, and some sang their hands in anguish. Every church was thronged with people on their knees. Thus, they remained the whole night through. After that long night of terror and agony, millions of eager, tear-streaked faces were turned toward the East. When the sky began to grow red, and the sun rose, there was a loud shout of joy. Millions of lips said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” because the sun had risen after one day of darkness.”

The very consistency of God’s blessings sometimes seems to dull our gratitude. We need to change this pattern because satan uses it to keep us heavy-laden (Luke 8:14). The wonderful thing about the mercies of God is that they are fresh every morning and new every evening. God wants to make us people who exhibit thankfulness in proper proportion to the gifts and blessings we’ve received. “…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18-19). “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:31-32)

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)