By H. M. S. Richards
Ungratefulness is one of the worst of all sins. Multitudes enjoy the blessings of life, food, home, friends, health, and a land of freedom--and never even say "Thank you" to God. How this lack of appreciation must grieve the heavenly Father!
The world is full of evil and our lives are not all sunshine, but we ought to be grateful to God and we ought to express our gratefulness to Him. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations" (Psalm 100: 4, 5).
Among many others, here are seven things for which we can express our thanks.
Life. We are always only one heartbeat from death. God alone gives life and sustains life. Even the wicked and ungodly live through the gift of God. All life is in His hand, for "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25).
The Bible. Whether the world is bright or dark, God's Word is always the same. Whether we are young or old, in health or sickness, it is a refuge for the mind and heart. Just think what the world would be like without it, and thank God for His blessed Word that "liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23).
Salvation. No matter what a failure we have made of life, we can turn in faith to Christ and find salvation. It is free, and it is offered to everyone on earth, and does not depend on wealth, education, good looks, friends, or influence. Surely we should be thankful that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11)
Blessings. The poorest of us have some good things--some health, some friends, some food, some clothing, some sunshine. We need to emphasize these blessings more. With the blessing of God we can be rich even when we are poor, for "the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich" (Proverbs 10:22).
Trials. It is hard to be thankful for trials, but by faith we may know God loves us, and we can then rejoice even in tribulation. Paul said, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:3-5).
A land of freedom. For a land of religious liberty, we can thank God every day. Sometimes we forget what blood and toil and sacrifice won this freedom for us. We are used to liberty and take it as a matter of course. Let us be grateful!
The blessed hope. Last and not least, we must thank God for the blessed hope. Soon all the shadows of earth will be lifted--death and tears and heartache will forever pass away. Christ is coming. It is time to be glad. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:4-6).
H. M. S. Richards (1894-1985) founded the Voice of Prophecy in 1929. This article is adapted from one of his Thanksgiving sermons.