Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ingratitude


Today's sermon isn't original. Of course, most of my sermons aren't original thoughts. They come from things which have been said to me, in addition of course to things written in the Bible - or things which I've read somewhere else. Today's is based on the sermon I listened to at church today.

The gentleman who did the sermon today - and who's given about half of the sermons since our pastor left at the end of last year - isn't a minister. But, he does a very good job, in my opinion. And, he's gotten much better since his first sermon this year. Of all the sermons he's done... and others have done... this year, today's seemed to hit home quite a bit more. It was so good, in fact, I took notes during the sermon. And... after my 15 year old threw away my notes... we walked those two whole blocks back to the church to dig the notes out of the garbage...

The sermon centered around one simple concept - gratitude.

How many of us remember to take the time to say those two simple words - "Thank you" ?

Thank you to those who do something nice for us? Thank you to those who help us when we need it? And especially, thank you to God for all he's given us?

It's so easy to overlook these words.... this feeling. And, as was explained today, there are 5 main reasons for ingratitude...

1. Unrealistic expectations
2. Forgetfulness
3. Entitlement
4. Comparison
5. Blindness to God's Grace

Unrealistic Expectations: 

 One of my last sermons was based on expectations, but I hadn't connected the dots between expectations and ingratitude. If you think about it, though, it does make sense. When someone doesn't meet your expectations, you lose sight of what they have done for you. You're too busy being resentful to recognize the fact that you should be saying "Thank you."

We must not hold people to these unrealistic expectations. Humans, quite simply, are not capable of meeting all our expectations. As soon as we accept that, and remind ourselves of this every time we find that we're expecting more than someone can meet, the better able we will be to be grateful for what people do for us.

Forgetfulness: 

Quite frankly, sometimes we just forget to say "thank you." We get busy with something else, or so excited that something good has happened, or whatever the case may be. We must try to be more aware of when someone does something for us - and thank them immediately.


Entitlement:

"I deserve this"... "I deserve better"...

Ahh, how easy it is to feel entitled. I think I could write an entire post or 4 on this topic. But, to keep it simple and short... think of our kids now days. Most of them feel they are entitled - they are deserving of things without having earned them. All their friends have a phone. It's just something that, as a teenager, they are entitled to have. So, when their parents purchase this for them, they aren't grateful. They don't even recognize something good was done for them.

This isn't just teenagers - we all get into this frame of mind at some point. We need to stop assuming we're entitled to anything. Take, for example, our salvation. We do not deserve to be forgiven of our sins. But, we are. And we need to be grateful every day, every moment, for this forgiveness.

Comparison:

"I do more than..."

Such an easy trap this is... believing you do more than someone else. Perhaps it's your spouse... you go to work, you do the chores, you help the kids with homework, you make the meals. What does your spouse do? Nothing. Or, so you let yourself believe. You don't show any gratitude for what your spouse does do simply because you believe you do more, and/or don't even notice what your spouse does.

We must stop comparing our actions to those of others, and give recognition where it is due to what other people do.

Blindness to God's Grace:

 Sometimes, we just really can't see what God has done for us. We don't recognize or appreciate what we've been given by our Lord. We are blind to the sacrifice that was made for us. We are blind to the unconditional love and grace of God. We need to open our eyes. We need to see what has been given to us and for us. And we need to say those two simple words - "Thank you."




Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lordhas compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

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