Gratitude is one of the important things that should characterize a Christian. If we are not grateful for God’s blessings, let us not be surprised if God withdraws the blessings we thought were natural. Let's read the well-known words of Job:
„And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."”
Job not only thought about the bad things, but realized how blessed he had been before. Yet he suffered no small loss, his children died, and all his possessions were lost. Then, a little later, he became seriously ill and his relatives and friends left him.
As a Christian, we can easily make the mistake of becoming dissatisfied. For example, who has what, what life, work, family, health, reputation, and so on, but we forget what God has already given us.
We may be grateful if:
- we can wake up the next day
- we had somewhere to sleep
- we have something to wear
- eat or drink
- we have hands and feet
- we have family members and friends
- and there could be a long list here that would not be possible without God
Let's read Paul's attitude:
„I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Interestingly, today’s “apostles” do not find themselves in such a difficult situation as Paul did. Maybe they would be better than Paul? Or maybe they take advantage of church members?
Most of the teachings today present a God who wants to bless his followers with all earthly blessings. However, as we can view the lives of our predecessors of faith, they were in constant difficulty, in danger and in daily necessities.
„Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many are the days of the years of your life?" And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning."”
Jacob had to flee constantly from Esau, worked for Laban for 20 years, his wife died at the birth of Benjamin, he believed Joseph to be dead for about 15 years, and let us not forget that he went to Egypt with his household because of starvation.
If a self-appointed Bible teacher or apostle today deserves all sorts of luxuries, then how could the ancestors not have received them? God never promised wealth to His followers. Many see the land flowing with milk and honey as a country with a luxurious life. Yet it is also enough to meet everyday needs in terms of food and clothing.
Let us see God’s view of man’s needs:
„Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"”
Although they were given water here, as we can see, it was not automatically prepared by God. Why? Because they had to learn (just as we have to learn) that they basically deserve nothing automatically, but they have to give thanks for everything, whether it’s big or small.
Think of a life where we have to live in a desert for 40 years, eat manna and quail every day, and water is not always available to us either. Would we grumble in our souls about it? We are talking about 40 years Brethren, not just a few weeks.
I’m not saying they could be understood because they can’t be understood! Nor did God understand them, but He destroyed them for that ungrateful attitude. Dissatisfaction is a great sin before God! Just let the attitude of those living in the wilderness be a testimony to us so that we do not die like them.
„For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Did they wish for evil things? Yes! Because they wanted more than God wanted to give them. It is this dissatisfaction, the ingratitude that brings us into a bad relationship with God. And if we get into a bad relationship with God, He will also withdraw His blessings. Then we will learn to appreciate all the things we once thought were basic.
Author: Antal Farkas