“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…”
Giving thanks is not just accepting situation blindly. In fact it is a wise decision that we need to make in order to continually living in His will. We were talking about giving thanks as a will of God and when we give thanks, we will be able to acknowledge God’s faithfulness and embrace his promises in our lives. (Part 1)
Here, I would like to direct you to the heart of “giving thanks.” It starts with a paradox: If we give thanks then we will not COMPLAIN. This is because we cannot give thanks and complain at the same time.
Consider the Israelites: when they were under oppression, they cried out to God. When God brought them out of Egypt, they complained and murmured against Moses and God. When they were cornered in front of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army behind them, they murmured and complaint to Moses. Moses, a young leader cried out to God and he was instructed to touch the Red Sea and it parted. That was the greatest miracle ever happened in human history. They were walking right into a live aquarium on dry land, right in the middle of the Red Sea. But before long, they forgot all about the miracles and the powerful God. Even when God provided “manna” and water, clouds in the morning and pillars of fire at night, they still complaints. They were called “the stiff-necked” people.
Well, we all know the price they have to pay for their faithless attitude: the entire generation died in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb before they entered the Promised-land.
Complaining and unappreciative attitude are very costly. It could cost us our happiness, our relationship with the others and most of all our relationship with God. When we complain, we forgot to consider faith in Him. It robs us of the joy and peace. Instead of rejoicing, we are bound with revenge and pride. “Pride goes before destruction” Prov 16:18; yet how many of us are seeing pride and revenge go hand in hand. We are not happy with how the other person has taken advantage of the situation, so we revenge. We revenge because we cannot accept to be the underdog.
Instead, giving thanks will release us of such pressures to revenge. I have new visitors to church from another church. I always have the courtesy to ask where they are from and possibly ask why they wanted to attend our church. If they are here because they have shifted to our area, they are most welcomed. But they are some who came because they have problems with the previous church’s pastors/members. Well, I have no problem with that because not all people could get along with everyone, right?
But I will get pretty agitated if they start to ramp on the previous church’s weaknesses especially on the leadership of the church. Frankly speaking this is what happens in my mind: the more he/she goes on with the complaints, the more my mind will swirl into the scenario “what if after attending our church for a while and decided to leave. Will they also complain about us to the next church?” Because complaining is a HABIT- a very bad habit indeed. It will make the other party looks so ugly and they hardly realized that by complaining they are making themselves look real ugly.
If you don’t believe me, the next time when someone is complaining about something, look at their faces carefully. You won’t see any smile but frowning, tight face, brows squeezed together and all the veins surfacing which make them look really unappealing.
So the next time, before you complain, look into the mirror and look yourself carefully. If you can train yourself to look really pretty even when complaining, then you can do so. Otherwise, my advice is, don’t get those wrinkles work extra hard on your face.
My suggestion is this: CHOOSE TO GIVE THANKS. Why “choose”? Because to be happy is a choice! We make choices in life that will affect us – and this is one that’s worth making it right.
So take a deep breath and at the count of three, smile to the first person you meet and I’m pretty sure you will receive a smile in return. Have a ‘smiley’ day!!!