I don’t know if you have ever passed out, but it isn’t an enjoyable experience. It starts with you feeling light-headed, then maybe a bit dizzy, followed by tunnel vision, and then everything goes dark. Doctors tell us your vision is the last to go, it is like your body is shutting down the most critical systems last so you might be able to make changes and stop it from happening.
The absence of a thankful heart is much like passing out. As the oxygen of counted blessings is choked off you begin to get dizzy with the world you live in. Eventually, after a time of low oxygen gratitude, your vision begins to tunnel and you can only see the things you believe are a problem for you. Prolonged grateful hypoxia will result in you passing out of the good things God has given you that you no longer can see.
As a church leader in America, I see this constantly. We get discouraged by inconveniences in life and we begin to confuse them with real problems. At our job, we have to work longer than we want so we gripe and complain, losing sight of the fact that we have a job at all. Our kids aren’t making the grades or keeping up with their responsibilities, so we become a constant nag to them, and we blackout on the fact that they are trying. We aren’t making as much money as our neighbors and can’t buy the boat so we drink the toxic Hater-aid and spew its poison at our employer forgetting that what we have is enough. The longer we focus on the things we think are problems the faster we suffocate from our thankfulness loss.
As a pastor, I have seen real problems…
- I have listened to a mother cry as she held her child’s lifeless three-month-old body that lost her battle with disease. That is real.
- I have sat with a man as he got word that his son would not come out of the coma. That is real.
- I have watched a family struggle as they lost their home because of unemployment. That is real.
- I have experienced having a child born with a birth defect. That is real.
- I have listened to the story of a man who watched his parents shipped off to a concentration camp never to see them again.
- I have listened to the desperation of a mother in front of the TV cameras as she pled with the captors of her daughter to no avail. That is real.
These problems are way more than most of us ever face, yet these mentioned still gathered themselves and found reasons to be grateful. Somehow they grasped the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of the worst of circumstances. Truth is, ungratefulness isn’t the product of circumstances it is the product of your heart. If you want to be thankful you will.
- Are your children healthy? Have they lost their hair because of Chemo? Will you see them today?
- Do you have a job or are you unemployed?
- Do you have a home or are you homeless?
- Do you have a family that loves you or are they all gone?
- Does your family know Christ or are they lost?
Gratitude is a lifestyle of worship. It has to be practiced. To be bitter is easy, and the truth is if you have a bitter spirit, no matter how blessed you are, you will find a reason to be bitter. The only antidote is practicing thanksgiving. You can start today by counting your blessings as you write them down. Then tell God how good He has been to you.
Colossians 3:15 (NASB)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.