As children, we were told and taught to be grateful because whatever pleasure we enjoyed was a scarcity for someone elsewhere. And in our day, society reminds us at Christmas time, at Easter, during natural disasters, droughts and crisis; the need to be thankful because someone somewhere isn’t enjoying the same liberty. And this can be a wrong outlook on thankfulness. In his exposition on the book of Jonah, Dr. Eric Mason tells us that the God of our theology should precede all our other “ologies” like sociology, psychology, ideology, philosophy, etc. Of course, true believers will agree with him. Unfortunately, societal norms, universal morals, and political correctness have influenced our theology which have formed our decisions and have translated into our actions.
Everything is a gift, God being compassionate on Adam and Eve is a gift, God rescuing the Israelites is a gift, God sending His Son Jesus Christ is a gift, Jesus Christ calling us His friends is a gift, God assuring us that whether Jew or Gentile He has no favourites is a Gift, God laying Jesus as a ransom for our sin is a gift, Jesus dying on the cross is a gift, Jesus raised from the dead is a gift. The list is exhaustive, we owe God everything, We owe him our lives. We are not thankful to Him because we have more than others. I am not saying do not remember the less fortunate but our indebtedness to him should rather be our motivation for everything we think, say or do. When I think of what seem to be unanswered prayers; when I think of suffering, of illnesses, of brokenness, of injustice, of sadness, of broken-heartedness, of rejection and feel like God has dealt me a bad hand, that I deserve better, I remind myself that everything is a gift and that I should have an attitude and a heart of thankfulness in the midst of difficulty and pain. In thinking like this, it has helped me appreciate people better, pushed me to seek forgiveness and reconciliation and more than anything it reminds me of my sin, my brokenness and my endless need of a Saviour. So can we not hope for more, for better?
God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that, He has a hope and a future for us when we return to him. Through Jesus’s acts of obedience He is seated at the right hand of God; In Habakkuk, we are told though it linger it will not delay; God shows us in His word He is the promise keeper and the kinsman redeemer. So on one hand God owes us nothing and on the other hand we can live in expectation, being mindful that we are not entitled to whatever we ask or what He gives us.
Usually one has to prove themselves, meet the requirement or pass a test before a reward, or gift, or qualification is given. But that is not the case when it comes to God and our salvation. If you’re reading this and you didn’t know, I hope this comforts you. Jesus already paid the price and He has His hand outstretched to you. He is magnanimous. He really does love you even if it is unrequited.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.