“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” — Ephesians 2:8
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Athletes experience frustrations like everyone else. So it’s easy to focus on the booing fans when you strike out or drop a fly ball and allow two runners to score, rather than being thankful to play a game for a living and have enough money to provide for the family.
When we get overcome with negative things, our pets can teach us to be thankful for everything good in our lives. Dogs wag their tails and lick our hands when we feed them and give them treats. If we look and listen, animals teach us to be grateful for what we have and for what God and others do for us.
As we look at the Scriptures, it’s important to search our hearts to see if we appreciate our blessings. If we are marching toward Heaven, we should be rejoicing about entering the gates of Heaven rather than groaning about little problems. Though we live in a world of sorrow, God gives us a glorious future through the Gospel. “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21).
If somebody gave us an expensive gift like a new truck, we probably wouldn’t complain for at least seven days. The Lord gave us an even better gift. However, we are often holding gripe sessions instead of celebrating the grace of God. Though we experience tough times, we should join Paul in rejoicing in God’s grace by saying, “[I]n order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:7-8).
Most people have shelter, food, clothing, family and friends, but we don’t always have an attitude of gratitude. So the Lord reminds us to be thankful. “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land — a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you candid copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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