“Thanks, I love it!” Those are the words my husband and I long to hear from our two children. Though it seems sometimes the phrase is seldom uttered. We have been trying to teach our children the value of counting their blessings. No matter how much we give them, they always want more. Not long ago we took them on a day trip to the Gold Mines. We panned for gold and gems. They both came away with a vial of gold flakes and a bag full of multi-colored stones. As we walked back to our car after the day’s adventure, I was patting myself on the back for such a well planned day when I heard, “It’s not fair. She has a bigger crystal than me.” I couldn’t see straight through the boiling anger in my eyes. How could my son possibly be asking for anything more? Yet, there he was with his lip drooping and his eyebrows scrunching.
My husband and I launched into a full-scale lecture about how we should be thankful for the things we get and not be constantly worrying about the things we don’t. We listed each of the things they should have been thankful for that day. Begrudgingly, my son thanked us for such a fun day. We did not feel appreciated for it was not given with a cheerful heart.
The next week my husband called me from work to ask about getting Braves tickets. Our children have never been to a game and our son loves baseball. I told him it sounded like a great idea to me. When he came home later that evening, he told me he decided not to buy the tickets because our kids act so ungrateful about everything we give them. He said when they starting being more appreciative, we would take them. I agreed, but was skeptical that would ever happen. As I discussed the problem with a friend the next day, it hit me. It doesn’t change. We act the same way as adults.
God pours out blessing on us. We are fleetingly happy until we see someone with something bigger and better than us. That family has a nicer car. That couple’s home is bigger than ours. They could afford a professional to decorate their house. They have granite countertops. Their kids are always dressed in the latest styles and trends. She has better singing voice than me. Her husband’s job pays more than mine. Sound familiar? We all are guilty of looking at someone else at some point in time and saying I wish I had what they have. Our Godly Father is sitting back and saying, “But I gave you this and this and this…” We don’t hear it because we are on to the next thing that we want.
As I spoke to my friend, she told me that she was challenged in a Bible study to take twenty-four hours and not ask God for anything – to spend time with him in prayer just praising him and thanking him. God spoke to me; that was what I needed to put into practice, too. It is not wrong to ask God for things. He tells us to do so in the Bible.
Philippians 4:6 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
But notice how that verse says with thanksgiving. In other words, come with a grateful heart. Imagine if your children, for one whole day, did nothing but thank you for the things you’ve given them and praised you for being such a good parent. Wow! I would love that. It would make me want to do and give them more things without them even having to ask. I’m sure our Heavenly Father feels the same way. If we pour out the praise and thanksgiving on Him, we are sure to be the ones blessed.
I challenge you today to try this. Take the next twenty-four hours and don’t ask God for anything. Instead, take that time to reflect on the many blessings you have. Sing praise songs to God. Read him a psalm. Listen to praise music. Take a walk and notice the earth’s beautiful splendor. It’s about time we came to the Lord with a little gratitude!
Colossians 3:16 NIV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Chronicles 16:9 NIV
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
Psalm 100:4 NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.