I once heard a quote from an anonymous source that, “Ungratefulness is forgetfulness.” The assumption behind the quote is that when we truly remember all the ways that God has blessed us, we will find every reason to “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Where we find ourselves in trouble is that we often look to the temporal, earthly blessings for these reasons to thank God. We thank and praise Him for our homes, for relationships with loved ones, for gifts, for health, and the list goes on and on. However, none of those blessings from the Lord have any eternal security. Our homes could burn down in a fire, loved ones can pass away, gifts can be broken or go out of date, and our health is always fickle depending on age and season. Consequently, if the remedy to our ungratefulness is to remember these earthly blessings, we will be back on the path towards ungratefulness once those earthly blessings are gone.
If you are anything like me, you have been on down that path several times already. Therefore, as we read through another set of Psalms this month, let me suggest a better way. In Psalm 103, the Psalmist (David) encourages his soul to bless or praise the Lord. However, in searching for reasons to praise God, he does not look simply to a list of temporal or earthly blessings. Rather a majority of his list is a recollection of the many blessings that are everlasting and heavenly.
David remembers that God forgives us all of our iniquities (vv.3, 10-13), redeems us from slavery (v.4), crowns us with steadfast love and mercy (v.4), is good to us (v.5), gives us his righteousness (v.6), shows us mercy and grace (v.8), is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (v.8), and shows us compassion (v.13).
What a wonderful list! And we know that we can lay claim to these promises through Jesus who secured them for us. We see this is 2 Peter 1:3-4a: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” Therefore, as we seek to live out this Psalm and all that we have in God through Christ, in seasons of ungratefulness let us turn not to other earthly blessings which are fleeting, but to the promises we have through Christ’s work on the cross.
When we are feeling ungrateful for our home, let us remember our heavenly home that awaits us in Christ! When we are feeling ungrateful after the loss of a loved one, let us remember the friend we have in Jesus and the promise we have of resurrection! When we are feeling ungrateful for the gifts we have received, let us remember that our true treasure is found in the riches of Christ! When we are feeling ungrateful for our health, let us remember that one day there will no longer be sickness or death, for God will have given us our new heavenly bodies.
Whatever the reason for our ungratefulness, let us remember all that we have gained in Christ!
Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Bless His holy name!
In Christ’s Love,