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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Cost of Being Ungrateful

There is no greater virtue than thankfulness. Nothing even comes close. Without it, we can not truly appreciate any of the others. Perhaps, it is even impossible to have a virtue without being thankful. Still, talking to the average person will probably not leave you with feelings of gratitude. Everyone knows this. It is not new. We talk about being thankful, but are we listening to ourselves?
Humans have been programmed to complain. From the cradle, we cried and our mothers responded. We have been told " the squeaky wheel gets the grease", and we act accordingly. No one would argue the concept can be a useful one. However, if you are constantly making request, then you are not taking time to be thankful.  Jesus teaches in  Matthew 13:12" Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." We must be good stewards with what He has given us. In short, we must be thankful for what we have before we can expect  him to entrust us with more.
News flash, everyone has problems. Some people face enormous opposition each day. Some have it easier than others. Don't kid yourself, life happens. It happens to us all. Sometimes, it hurts, both inside and out. You can choose to go down to the hundred acre wood and  say "woe is me" to Eeyore. Eeyore, will then tell you how bad his life is. Soon you will be wallowing in self pity. There is no thanksgiving in self pity. There is no virtue in self pity. There is no hope in self pity. We, since we are in the hundred acre wood, should take life lessons from Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh, is always making the most of every situation. He is never ungrateful for his circumstances.  Back in the real world, staying positive can be difficult. Then again, everything worth while is. Without thankfulness, we are not just lost, we are doomed.
The choice is yours but it is not optional. God, in his great love and perfect wisdom, has allowed us to choose for ourselves many things. Even harmful, and sinful things. He has done this,only so that we may make a choice to surrender our lives to him. If God, had not given us this choice, he would have forced himself upon us and love would not exist. I challenge anyone to love without being thankful. It cannot be done.  Since love is not an option for believers, I submit neither is thankfulness. We are required to love one another ,as Jesus first loved us. Likewise, we are required to be thankful." Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1st Thessalonians 5:18 .
The bottom line. No one can afford to be ungrateful. This attitude will steal our joy and happiness. This can hit us in the wallet or in the heart. You cannot be all  that you can be while griping. You just will not preform as well as you could. That will cost you that raise or that contract you need. If you aren't thankful for you family, you will not spend time with them. If you don't spend time with them, you could cost yourself a relationship. If that relationship happens to be your marriage, it could cost you emotionally and financially. For the non-believer, it can cost him salvation. For the believer, it may stunt his growth in Christ. But what if you just don't feel thankful.
Our only hope.    Remember those choices God gave us? Virtues are not emotions or feelings. Virtues are noble characteristics that have been skillfully and purposefully enhanced. They all begin as conscious decisions. That means, they all began as a choice. Truthfully, you can't choose how you feel, right now. You can choose what you say from here on out. You would be surprised how much better you'll feel later if you choose what you say about yourself.  You can choose to be anything you would like to be. If you need something to be thankful for something, that is a good place to start. Here is a good place to finish. Have you considered how important you are? You are so important that according to Romans 5:8 that while you were still a sinner Christ died for you. This holiday season, while you are stuck in traffic or check out line, and you are tempted to whine about the economy, job, or whatever, Remember, if you are an American and you have a roof,  any food in the fridge, any change in your pocket, then you are in the top eight percent wealthiest people in the world! If you are a Christian and someone asks, "How you are ? " Force a smile and reply, " I am richly blessed, highly favoured, and deeply loved! Because the creator of the universe left his his throne of glory, honor, strength, and power to come rescue me. He suffered in my place and died saving me. He has returned to his Father and is now speaking to him on my behalf. He has built a mansion for me in his Father's house."  We have so much to be thankful for.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
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