By Randy Alcorn

What goes through your mind when you don’t get what you feel you deserve? How much thought do you put into achieving or acquiring something you really want?

It’s good to have ambition and pursue fairness, except when they feed (or are fed by) our discontentment. What keeps our motives pure is a posture of gratitude.

Thankfulness to God for His common grace and His saving grace and His special graces to us each day is something that should fill our hearts and show our children and grandchildren and co-workers and neighbors the joy of Christ. Given what Jesus has done for us, our lives should overflow with gratitude. Sadly, too often they don’t. 

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35). The answer is nobody.

Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately, we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want. 

What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly – even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us a parade. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?

Christians in Sudan – who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith – are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout.

If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings – including my redemption and home in heaven – but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks. If I don’t have these, I’ll be overwhelmed with the knowledge that I have plenty else I don’t deserve. And because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body.

 

Think and Pray

Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer?

Lord, help us to be thankful people. Help us to be grateful for ordinary days. And during our bad days, remind us of what you are preparing for us – endless days filled with goodness and abundance, where we will look back with amazed delight at your deliverance and look forward with anticipation of the endless wonders yet to come.

 

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of fifty-some books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries