In Romans 1, there’s a description of a rebel against God. In the midst of a truly terrible picture, one phrase seems out of place, apparently benign in comparison to the rest of the description. This arrogant rebel is unthankful.
Unthankfulness is more than simply poor manners. It is a symptom of the pride that plagues even Christians. One of the ways that we can cultivate a spirit of humility is to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. It is not a virtue that comes naturally or easily.
I’d like my children to be thankful. Oh, they say thank you spontaneously when given more milk at the table. They say thank you when Dad helps them get a toy that’s stuck in the chair. But when given candy by Miss Charlotte at church, they must be prompted to speak words of gratitude. When given less than what they wanted, they are unhappy. And they have no concept that the greatest reason to be thankful is God’s matchless grace in sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. How can I teach this?
I must start with my own life. Am I thankful that God sent His Son to die? Really thankful? Do I think about it, or pray about it? How faithful am I to send out thank-you notes for kindnesses shown to me? If I’m honest, I need more grace to be thankful. I need to repent of the pride that puts thankfulness low on the priority list of things to do for the day.