It’s not too hard to find things to complain about. Listen to the conversations around you - there’s a lot of grumbling going on!
At the same time, we can find a multitude of reasons for which to be thankful. Tomorrow (in America), our society sets aside a day to count our blessings and give thanks.
I’m deeply persuaded that our decision to complain or to give thanks is rooted in the way we view ourselves.
Follow the logic here:
- If I assume that I’m a good person, then I’ll conclude that I’m a deserving person.
- If I live with a sense of entitlement, I’ll develop an inflated sense of need.
- Because I have an inflated sense of need, I’ll expect the situations, locations, and relationships of my everyday life to focus their energy on fulfilling what I have named as needs.
- Inevitably, those people and places will fail to cater to, or even recognize, what I have named as needs.
- So, since I didn’t get what I thought I deserve, I now believe that I have the right to complain and grumble.
What if, instead of assuming that I’m a good and deserving person, I view myself accurately through the lens of Scripture? What if I remember that this universe wasn’t created to serve me?
The Bible tells us that everything in this universe was designed by, and for the glory of, God. That means this world, with all its created pleasures, was not meant to celebrate us.
Should they be enjoyed? Yes - like the meals that many of us will have tomorrow! But the created glories of this world are designed to be a finger pointing toward and reminding us of the Creator.
On top of that, the Gospel presents me with the humbling truth that I’m not a morally right person; in fact, the only thing I deserve in this life is God’s wrath.
If I remember that God, in an act of outrageous grace, turned his face of mercy and kindness towards me and that every good thing in my life is an undeserved blessing, feelings of humility and thankfulness will fill my heart.
Not entitlement and disappointment.
Instead of trying to exploit the situations, locations and relationships of my life to serve me, I will now approach people and places with a servant’s heart.
I will be so overwhelmed with gratitude at the sacrifice of Christ that my life will now be defined by similar sacrifice.
Now that’s a better way!
Paul David Tripp
Below are 13 questions for you to think about or discuss aloud on Thanksgiving:
- Would the people who live nearest to you characterize you as a complaining person or a thankful person?
- When was the last time you sat down to literally count your blessings?
- When was the last time you spent time grumbling, moaning and complaining about life?
- When you look at your world, are you pessimistic about everything that’s going wrong?
- When you look at your world, do find yourself celebrating God’s common grace?
- Do you view yourself as one who has been continuously short-changed and neglected?
- Do you view yourself as one who has been unfairly showered with blessings?
- How often do you fill in the blank with grumbling, like “If only I had _____” or “I wish _______ was different”?
- How often do you fill in the blank with gratitude, like “I can't believe God has given me _________”?
- In your relationships, are you encouraging friends and family to continue their grumbling?
- In your relationships, are you encouraging friends and family to find reasons to give thanks to God?
- In your relationships, do you find yourself frequently tearing others down?
- In your relationships, do you find yourself frequently building others up?