Years ago, I determined that I wanted to write a book on the importance of gratitude in the Christian life. But not long ago I read Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book Choosing Gratitude and realized I no longer needed to! (In fact, the two greatest books I’ve ever read on being thankful I read this year within a few months of each other, the other one being Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. My list of 1,000 gifts includes Ann Voskamp and Nancy Leigh DeMoss for prompting us to cultivate a deeper and richer thankfulness.)
Nancy’s Choosing Gratitude speaks powerfully to one of our most important issues as individuals, families, and churches. Nancy is biblical, honest, challenging, and practical. I enthusiastically recommend this book.
Thankfulness to God for His common grace and His saving grace and His special graces to us each day is something that should fill our hearts, and show our children and grandchildren and co-workers and neighbors the joy of Christ. Given what Jesus has done for us, our lives should overflow with gratitude. Sadly, too often they don’t.
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35). The answer is nobody.
Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want.
What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly—even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us a parade. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?
Christians in Sudan—who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith—are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout.
Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer?
If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings—including my redemption and home in heaven—but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks. If I don’t have these, I’ll be overwhelmed with the knowledge that I have plenty else I don’t deserve. And because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body.
And while I’m thanking God for Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s Choosing Gratitude, let me highly recommend her upcoming True Woman Conference ‘12, taking place September 20-22 in Indianapolis. My daughters Karina and Angela and a number of our EPM staff attended that conference four years ago, and absolutely loved it. Check it out!
Lord, help us to be thankful people. Help us to be grateful for ordinary days. And during our bad days, remind us of what you are preparing for us—endless days filled with goodness and abundance, where we will look back with amazed delight at your deliverance and look forward with anticipation of the endless wonders yet to come.