Does prayerful thanks season all your food and brighten all the atmosphere about you? It surely will if you are a Christian in deed and in truth, and not in name only. There are some people who are never content no matter with what blessings they are surrounded; while others are happy even in adverse circumstances. It is the condition of the heart, and not the outward circumstance, that causes people to be happily thankful or wretchedly ungrateful.
The thankful person is the exception rather than the rule. Let us be that exception! We can be the lone Samaritan who returned to Jesus and gave thanks. Jesus experienced this when He traveled the border between Galilee and Samaria. He encountered a group of men that were bound together by the common misfortune of leprosy. One of the men was a Samaritan, a man whose life had been scarred by racial prejudice and the stigma of being born into a mongrel race. Jesus healed all ten men, but the Samaritan was the only one who took the time to give thanks for being given another chance. The other nine never came back to give thanks or identify themselves with the One who was responsible for their healing. It appears the nine hurried off, clutching their blessings, never to cast back even a thought to the Giver. Jesus said, “…Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17). What a tragic example of ingratitude!
The spirit of unthankfulness, Paul told Timothy, would characterize men “…in the last days [when] perilous times shall come” (2 Tim 3:1). How noticeable is this mark today! If no rain appears for a time, or too much seems to come, how distressed and faultfinding some people are. But when rain is given them from heaven and they are blessed with fruitful seasons, how very seldom will they recognize these favors as a witness of God’s goodness. Paul speaks of God as “...filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). But all too often we are daily loaded with God’s benefits, yet our hearts are not filled with thankfulness.
In one of John Wesley’s sermons, he tells of the king of France who was lost while fox hunting in the dense forest. Intent on following the fox, the king out-rode his servants and became separated from the members of the royal hunting party. For many hours he wandered through the forest, weary and hungry, until he came to a little cottage. He asked for something to eat. He was hospitably treated by the poor family, and given the best they had to offer: a simple meal of bread and cheese.
Soon the other members of the hunting party, who had been seeking the king in vain, rode up and saw their sovereign at this humble home. When the king saw them at the door, he immediately cried out “Where have I been all my lifetime? I never before tasted such good food in my life.” One of the men in the hunting party replied, “Sire, you never had so good sauce before; for you were never hungry.”
John Wesley said after giving this illustration: “Now it is true; hunger is a good sauce. But there is one better still; that is thankfulness. Surely that is the most agreeable food which is seasoned with this. And why should not yours be such at every meal?”
Nothing is so rewarding to a loving heart as to pour itself out in thanks to Jesus. Thankfulness knits us to Jesus in such a way as to make us more like Him. So let us continue “Giving thanks always for all things…” (Eph 5:20).
By Lewis Brevard