How to know if we’re ungrateful

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

(2Timothy 3:2)

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 only notice…

  • Those that are ABSENT from the assemblies?
  • Those that are in ATTENDANCE?

(Mat 18:20; 1Cor 11:18)

What do I regularly think about…

  • WORRY and anxiety?
  • the WORD?

(Mat 6:33; Phil 4:8)

When I’m planning my contribution…

  • Do I Give GRUDGINGLY?
  • Do I Give GLADLY?

(2Cor 9:6-15)

When studying my bible do I…

  • Dread READING?
  • Look for the REAPING from what I read?

(John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; Eph 3:3-4; 2Pet 1:5-10)

When assembling to worship with the saints, do I…

  • See it as an OBLIGATION I have to do?
  • See it as an OPPORTUNITY I get to do?

(John 4:24; Heb 10:25)

When it comes to my brethren what do I notice…

  • The HURT of some?
  • The HELPFULNESS of most?

(Num 11:5-6)

When the weather turns…

  • Do I only see the RAIN, snow, sun etc.?
  • Do I notice the blessings of REFRESHMENT?

(Acts 14:17; Matt 5:45)

What is my attitude toward my job?

  • Do I view it only as WORK to pay my bills?
  • Do I see it as WEALTH building to share & enjoy?

(Eph 4:28; 1Tim 6:17-19)

When I’m ill…

  • 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?

(Mat 20:13-15)

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 in Borger Texas

9 Reasons for GRATITUDE

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?

I’ll start…

Day 1

God’s Grace.

Titus 2:11-12 KJV

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Day 2.

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.

day 3.

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: [2] And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [3] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

day 4.

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. [16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

day 5.

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: [15] 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)

day 6.

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? [17] 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)

day 7.

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, [4] whereby when ye read this, ye may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ),

(cf. John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17)

day 8.

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. [3] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] 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.

day 9.

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.

Why are you GRATEFUL?

Does anyone BOAST about us?

2Thess 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Does anyone BOAST about us?

Because our faith grows exceedingly? v3

Oppression we endure patiently. v4

Abounding love one toward another. v3

Suffering for the kingdom of God. v5

Tribulations from Troublers. v4

In everything give thanks

It’s quite easy to give thanks for those good things we enjoy. When we like the giver, like the gift and when we feel like we deserve it.

It’s not so easy to give thanks for those good things disguised as work. It’s often years later before we can find the reasons to be thankful.

The Hebrew writer alludes to this truth; “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” [Heb 12:11]

Is it possible to follow the command of God to give thanks for everything, even the not so fun stuff?

To illustrate this point, indulge me in a little walk down my own memory pain, ur I mean lane.

Growing up the son of a 3rd generation sign maker and sole proprietor, my bother and I found ourselves many SATURDAYS and most of the SUMMERS at our father’s SHOP. From very early days, “tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother,” I can remember spending hours holding a paint can, paint thinner, and paint pallet as my father hand painted all types & sizes of advertisements. Over time and learning to read, I became spell check before such a thing ever existed. I could tell which letter dad was about to form just from the position of the brush. I would audibly grunt as the squirrel haired stick approached the surface; it was my respectful warning for him to check his spelling.

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” [Prov 10:5]

I HATED IT… sometimes. No kid wants to work it seems, and I was no different. But it wasn’t a choice. It was a matter of fact. It was as certain as a meal, or going to school. It was going to happen. Very early on I accepted my fate. I could go to the SHOP bitter or I could go to the SHOP & get better. Either way, I WAS GOING TO THE SHOP.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” [Prov 19:18]

I don’t know if it was the 3rd year or the 13th year, somewhere along the way it became an OPPORTUNITY to learn. The typical sign SHOP requires woodworking, painting, electrical and welding skills. It requires drawing, planning, organizing and socializing (sales). Over the years my older brother learned many of the fabrication skills while I, the younger, navigated toward the office, sales, and organizational skills. One day as dad left for a sales meeting, he shouted to a SHOP full of grown men, “Nobody answers the phone except Spencer!” I may have been 13 or 14 by then.  

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

As I reflect back on those dreaded days in the SHOP, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for them. Today I realize some of the lessons I’ve learned and the PERSON I’ve become because of those years. While at the moment there seemed to be no joy, but rather grief, many years later I am truly thankful for the time well spent.

While we can’t say what would have happened had my summers been spent under my own direction, we can make a fairly good guess they wouldn’t have been nearly as useful.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

Today, I am thankful to my dad as well as to my heavenly FATHER for those dreadful years well spent at the SHOP. Many of you have had similar experiences, or maybe even more painful ones. May we reflect on the good and be thankful.

It may be difficult to find the good in every memory, but we can at least be grateful for our survival, growth, and the lessons learned. May we find the ability to fulfil the command of God and “In every thing give thanks.”

— spencer

Taking a Knee

There has been a lot of news of late about football players taking a knee during the national anthem. What we’re witnessing are people, players, TV & Politicians vying for our attention in the most irreverent way possible, by making us angry. It seems to me that the real controversy here isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality, or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the national anthem. It’s only about one thing – Gratitude.

You see, the reason anyone can “take a knee” is due to the fact that men and women of all colors spilled red blood on the ground to form this great country and to protect it from those who would want to see it fall. To be ignorant of that point is proof that many in our country have grown to be ungrateful. People often take for granted those things, the price of which was paid by another.

But this article is not for politics, it’s to give a biblical perspective on the world. You see, we’re not immune to becoming ungrateful. It’s easy for us to overlook the sacrifice and spilled blood that bought the church, that bought our lives [1Cor 6:20]. We too, take for granted those things that were done for us. And sometimes we forget that God is Sovereign, that Jesus is King and that He Reigns. [1Peter 3:22]

It reminds me of another person where it appeared he was being treated unfairly. A man who found himself in the middle of a discussion between God and Satan. His name is Job, and as he was living his life, minding his own business, everything changed. In a very short time, he lost all his 10 children to tragedy, he lost all his wealth worse than any stock market crash, he lost his health and then he lost the support of his wife. Last of all he lost all hope of receiving sympathy from his friends. You can read about it in the book of Job, chapters 1-2. Have any of us, or those players, suffered this kind of loss, experienced this kind of injustice?

Life is unfair, it’s cruel and often makes no sense. That was Job’s situation, he didn’t know why he had suffered so much pain. So, what did Job do? HE TOOK A KNEE!

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, [Job 1:20]

Taking a Knee

Job didn’t give up, he didn’t curse God as his wife suggested, and he didn’t believe the false narrative of the mainstream. He maintained his integrity and remembered his creator. [Job 4:17, 36:3] This is gratitude. He could have easily believed the lie, but he had so much love for the truth [2Thess 2:10-11].

In good times, it’s easy to forget what God has done for us [Mat 5:45, Acts 14:17]. 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] In bad times, it’s even harder, often resorting to blaming Him or even doubting His existence. We can learn something from Job. We can learn to seek God in the good times and the bad.

But that’s not all. Job TOOK A KNEE on another occasion. At the end of the book, Job TOOK A KNEE for those who had been condemning him incorrectly. [Job 42:8-10]. It was after he prayed for his friends that God restored to him all his wealth.

With Job in mind, let’s see how we ought to ‘take a knee’…

  • Mt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
  • 2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
  • 1Timothy 2:1-4 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.

One more thing, while a few are “taking a knee”, there will come a day when EVERYONE will ‘TAKE A KNEE’ as they face the judgement.

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Romans 14:11

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; Philippians 2:10