“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.”
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he warns of imposters in the last and perilous days. He lists a series of qualities that describe these traitors (cf., 2Tim 3:2-8).
Among this descriptive list is the quality of being “UNTHANKFUL.”
We usually know when someone ELSE is being an ingrate, but seldom do we recognize it in ourselves. There are only two ways I know to see it in ourselves. One is through constant self-evaluation (cf. 2Cor 13:5), the other is learning by example (both positive & negative).
Let’s combine these strategies with a self-evaluation test using biblical examples.
Take this GRATITUDE self-test to know if we’re being grateful or ungrateful.
Do I only see…
the FORBIDDEN fruit?
the freedom to eat every other FRUIT in the garden?
(Gen 2:16-17; 3:4-6) Metaphorical for those forbidden “fruits” of the lust of the flesh.
Do I exemplify the SICKNESS with an organ recital?
Do I SHOW my hope in my faithful endurance?
(Jas 5:11; 2Cor 4:16-18)
When trouble comes…
Do I only see the STRUGGLE?
Do I see the STRENGTH and patience that comes from endurance?
(Jas 1:1-3; Heb 12:11)
When I go into the marketplace…
Do I lament the COMMERCIALISM?
Do I see the nearly limitless CHOICES?
Life on earth is seldom easy. The way we respond to the struggles of life will determine how much HOPE we display. A positive response gives the best chance to reach the lost through our godly example (cf. 1Peter 3:1-6).
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper st. in Borger Texas.
In a previous article I listed some things for which I am grateful. (v8 #45 Nov 6, 2022). Today I’d like to make a list of the People to which I am grateful.
Many people claim that they are self-made and in need of help from no one. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The scripture says, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Everything we have in life will come through or because of others.
We need people. We’re not going to be able to grow all our own food, refine our own gas, nor sow our own clothing. Our needs in life lie at the root of all economies.
Therefore, it is of great necessity that we are grateful to others. Have you taken the time to thank them personally? Do you recognize who they are? Let’s consider who it is that deserves our gratitude.
Certainly, first on our list is GOD. “…He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45b). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17). Every good gift comes from above, ought not we give thanks?
Some of the most important people in our lives are often the worst treated of all people, and these are our RELATIVES. We certainly need to show them gratitude. Our parents birthed us and provided for us. Our children bring us a sense of purpose. Our extended families bring us comfort and belonging. Spouses aid one another both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While this is the ideal, it may have it rough spots. Nevertheless, let us be grateful to those we love the most. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:1-4).
Another group of people to add to the gratitude list are the AGED. These are those who have been through what we have yet to experience. These can be a source of good knowledge on how to live good lives. Not because they always did it right, but that they sometimes did it wrong and learned from their mistakes. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:2-5).
I’m also grateful for those who have educated themselves with those highly TECHNICAL skills that makes civilized life possible. This would include doctors, surgeons, and engineers, but it must also include those with TECHNICAL skills in the blue-collar fields; ie., mechanics, plumbers, and electricians to name just a few. How would life be without these TALENTED people? “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1Tim 5:18; cf., Le 19:13; De 24:14-15; 25:4).
Let us also be grateful for those service EMPLOYEES who are often overlooked or looked down upon. These folks prepare our food, make our clothes, and also make civilized life possible. “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph 6:9; cf., Rom 2:11; 1Co 7:22; Col 3:25-4:1).
While we’re making this list of people let us never forget our FRIENDS & Co-Workers. It’s self-evident that we desire FRIENDS. These are people we choose to make a part of our lives because of common values and interests. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). Are these not worthy of our gratitude?
An odd one that I put on my list are those that are UNFRIENDLY. We can be grateful even for these. Our savior told us that He loved us while we were enemies, and commands us to love our enemies (Rom 5:8-9; Luke 6:27), but can we also be grateful? I think so. Consider what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1Cor 11:19). The unfriendly, the unkind, the unruly, and the other “uns” become a contrast to help us recognize what is good. I know it sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can understand this verse.
Lastly, would be our LEADERS. It is a direct command to pray for them, and it is clear that God rules in the kingdoms of men, therefore let us give thanks. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:1-4; cf., Dan 4:17).
One more thing; The above is a general list of the groups of people to whom we could show thanks. I urge you to take it a bit further and to specifically identify individuals in each of these categories that you could recognize with thanksgiving. I began making a list, years ago, of people who have made an impact in my life. Names are constantly being added to it. Then I make a point to thank them in person, or with a note, and I certainly give thanks to God for them.
If you do this, you will be amazed at how much people change when we begin to be grateful for them and show it to them.
“And Jesus answering said, were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)
Jesus gave cleansing to 10 lepers who begged Him for mercy. He commands them to “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them noticed that he was cleansed and turned back to glorify God. He fell on his face and gave thanks. The necessary inference from Jesus’ response is that all 10 were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks. This also means that Jesus is saying that the other 9 were UNGRATEFUL.
While we can’t know what they were thinking, we can know from scriptures about other people who were UNGRATEFUL to God for the good things He has done. Let’s learn from these negative examples about how to be GRATEFUL to God.
10 Reasons why we’re sometimes UNGRATEFUL.
The blessings are Unconnected in our mind to Jesus. Sometimes we just don’t realize that everything good is from God. Consider Ephraim, “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.” (Hos 11:3; CF. 2:8; Is 1:3; Dan 5:18)
Perhaps some thought it was Not Enough or it was expected. It reminds me of what God said to David, “And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things” (2Sam 12:8).
Sometimes we give Glory to another. “And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians,” “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (Judges 10:11,14).
Sometimes there’s Resentment on the part of the recipient of God’s blessings. The elder brother had resentment toward his prodigal brother’s return and restoration. “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf” (Luke 15:29-30).
Some disregard any blessings from God because they believe they were Already improving anyway. It reminds me of Pharoah when a plague was lifted. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exo 8:15).
There are some that would show gratitude, but are too busy, perhaps Tomorrow. “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me” (Hos 13:6; cf Deu 6:11).
Some people are just too proud or Egotistical to recognize God’s blessings. Consider the wealthy man in Luke twelve, 13-21; or the Pharisee & the tax collector, “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess,” (Luke 18:9-14); or Israel toward God’s care for them (Jer 2:31).
Sometimes we Fail to know God’s word about the good things He’s done. “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt” (Psalm 106:21). If we fail to know about Christ, we’ll fail to give thanks to Him for His indescribable gift.
Some of us are just Uncaring about God’s blessings. We take for granted things that come for free. “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).
Perhaps there are some that just don’t Love God like this sole Samaritan did. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16). It reminds me of the question Jesus posed to Simon about two debtors, “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most” (Luke 7:36-50)?
We’re commanded to give thanks, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thess 5:18), but it begins with recognition of the Source from whom all blessings flow (James 1:17).
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas.
Are you grateful? As THANKSGIVING approaches, we’re reminded to be thankful. Have you tried to make a list of reasons to be grateful? May I suggest a 30 day challenge of being thankful. Here is my list for the first 9 days of November.
30 days of Thanksgiving.
What are you thankful for?
Titus 2:11-12 KJV
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
I’m grateful for Rain.
Matthew 5:45 KJV
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
I’m grateful for the ADVOCATE, Christ Jesus, who makes ATONEMENT.
1 John 2:1-5 KJV
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
I’m grateful for TRANSPORTATION so we’re able to GO and peach the gospel.
Mark 16:15-16 KJV
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
I’m grateful for INVOCATION (prayer).
1 John 5:14-15 KJV
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (cf John 9:31)
I’m grateful for THE TEMPLE of God, His body, the church.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 KJ21
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, and ye are that temple. (1Peter 2:5)
I’m grateful for the UNDERSTANDABLE Word of God.
Ephesians 3:3-4 KJ21
how by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words,  whereby when ye read this, ye may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ),
(cf. John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17)
I’m grateful for my DEBT to God being paid by Christ, the Propitiation for my sins.
1 John 2:2-4 KJV
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Propitiation= 2434 hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. 2434 (hilasmós) is only used twice (1Jn 2:2, 4:10) – both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath.
I’m grateful for the ELECTION of the saints.
2 Peter 1:10 KJV
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and ELECTION sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Biblical ELECTION is God choosing those who seek Him and obey the Gospel. (Heb 5:8-9; 2Thess 1:7-8). Biblical Election is NOT God randomly choosing individuals to be lost or saved.
He gave His Son to bring the means of salvation to any who will obey Him.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
People talk a lot about what God wants for them, usually inaccurately. Paul wrote the above passage clearly stating at least one thing God wants for us to do, be GRATEFUL.
In these tumultuous times it’s sometimes difficult to find some reasons to be GRATEFUL. However, when we have a specific command, we need to figure out how to complete it.
If GRATEFUL we should, then GRATEFUL we could.
What follows in this article are just a few things from scripture for which we can give thanks. It need not be very hard, for God says, “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:3)
I’m grateful for God’s Grace. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” (Titus 2:11). “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:4-5).
I’m grateful for God’s Revealed word. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” 2Peter 1:3-4).
I’m grateful for Adoption. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:4-6).
I’m grateful for Trying times. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
I’m grateful for Everything that Everyone gets. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45).
I’m grateful for Faithful Brethren. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Phil 1:3-6)
I’m grateful for the ability to Understand God’s word, and to know wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
I’m grateful for the Love of God for me, you, and all. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:8-10). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1John 4:9-11).
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ at Franklin & Juniper in Borger Texas.