God is generous. He doesn’t just gives us everything we need. He blesses us abundantly! A full measure, shaken together and pressed down, poured into our laps. Even to those who reject him (Matthew 5:45). As members of God’s family through Jesus Christ we are blessed beyond all measure:
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?Romans 8:17, 8:31–32
Our inheritance is the kingdom of God: life eternal; abundant; overflowing; unending. The right and proper response to this is thankfulness. Funny then, how hard we often find it.
I don’t know if this happens to you: but my children regularly cry when I give them an ice cream. Now, I’m not trying to trick them. It is not dodgy ice cream! It’s a good quality, hand scooped, bespoke ice-cream in a waffle cone. But however equal I try to make each scoop, one is always slightly smaller than another. Or it’s a single scoop not a double. Or it’s a double not a triple. Or it’s a triple… without chocolate topping.
Instead of focussing on what we have, it is human nature to focus on what we don’t. Like Adam and Eve – who were heirs over all creation – we covet the one thing we think we lack. We don’t trust in God’s goodness and his provision. Instead we seek to take matters into our own hands. Lack of thankfulness is the underlying cause of sin.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.James 4:1–3
Is overwhelming thankfulness your default setting?
If you are anything like me (in fact if you are anything like the entirety of the fallen human race) thankfulness and contentment don’t come naturally. It’s an attitude that has to be fostered and practised. This month, at Glen Osmond, that is what we are going to do. We are going to foster thankfulness. Recover peace, joy and contentment. Bring ourselves in line with the kingdom of God. And powerfully confront sin.
It all starts with thankfulness.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”―Melody Beattie