By Ronald G. Davis
Thankfulness is a natural reaction to a perceived blessing. Unfor-tunately, our perception has been dulled by sin. Blessings are often perceived as nothing more than what we ought to get, what we deserve, what we have merited by simply existing or because we are “special” . . . by self designation! We want God to “owe” us, rather than concede that we owe him. Faith is simply our acknowledgment that he is God and that we are woefully inadequate for the task of successful living. When we come to that understanding, faith will inspire gratitude. And gratitude will express itself, both in words and deeds.
Ingratitude Is Always Ugly
In a children’s story about Princess Rubella, upon her becoming the queen, she outlaws Christmas. As a childhood brat she did not get her complete list of wanted gifts. Though it took the royal gift wrappers a week, working day and night, to assemble and prepare her gifts, no “moon on a golden string” was available. A “foaming chocolate fountain” was deemed inappropriate by her parents for the royal princess’s bedroom. And “twin alligators tied together at the tails by a braid of velvet” was out of the question as a household pet. Now, the whole kingdom suffered from her ingratitude. No Christmas. Just imagine. The kingdom had become a bitter, sullen place to be. Queen Rubella had withdrawn into a passionately self-centered despot. It was ugly. Even the pretty young princess’s face grew to resemble that of a warthog!
Gratitude Is Always Beautiful
True gratitude, that inner sense of realizing one has been blessed—by God and by others—will always result in beautiful acts of kindness. Such deep feelings want to be released in loving words and reactive behaviors. Gratitude never wallows in self-pity over “what I don’t have” (as Queen Rubella!). Gratitude rejoices in “what I do have” by the love and grace of others. And that joy begs to be expressed. Gratitude realizes that God “exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). That is the essence of faith.
Ronald G. Davis is a retired classroom teacher living in North College Hill, Ohio with his wife of 50 years, Ruth, his younger daughter, and her son, an 8-year-old shadowed by autism.