1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
But why is it often hard to say “give thanks in all circumstances?” What gets in the way of gratitude? PRIDE!
Gratitude and pride do not sleep in the same bed. The proud man is a thankless person. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the proud man boasts, “I deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the proud man grumbles, “I deserve better.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever absent in a proud man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is a foreign language to a proud man.
But oh, how sweet when the proud man learns humility! Gratitude for and in everything naturally follows. Humility and ingratitude do not sleep in the same bed. The humble man is a thankful man. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the humble man says, “I don’t deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the humble man says, “I deserve worse.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever present in a humble man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is the mother-tongue of a humble man.
Which of the two are you?
Oh, the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be,
When I let the Saviour’s pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answered–
“All of self, and none of Thee.”
Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on the cursed tree;
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father,”
And my wistful heart said faintly–
“Some of self, and some of Thee.”
Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah? so patient,
Brought me lower while I whispered–
“Less of Self, and more of Thee.”
Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered:
Grant me now my soul’s petition–
“None of self, and all of Thee”
Author: Theodore Monod
The Christian life is a paradox. You go up by going down; you gain by losing; you live by dying, etc. Jesus Christ was very careful and concerned that His first disciples understood this. He wanted them to learn that Christian discipleship is all about servitude not status. But this goes against every grain in our natural constitutions as fallen beings – everybody wants to be great – first and the important man. And yet, this is the life to which the Lord Jesus Christ called His first disciples and to this same life, He calls all of His disciples today – a life focused on servant-hood and not status. I was helped in thinking about this in a recent study in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9:30-41. I have been preaching through the Gospel of Mark in our local congregation over the past year or so and we are now towards the end of chapter 9. I preached on THE BIG MAN SYNDROME last Sunday and was greatly helped by the LORD in delivering His Word to His people. If you would like to listen to that sermon, please click on the image below.