“Thankfulness could well be the finest sentiment of man — and also the rarest.” (Anonymous)
Truly, thankfulness is a rarity today. We know it because we live in this world and know the prevailing attitude of humankind. God inspired the Apostle Paul to speak of it in advance.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). Unthankfulness, along with all these other selfish attributes, is found in those who don’t love God. Interestingly, the unthankful can have a form of godliness — they can profess a belief in God and attend church services regularly. The apostle continues, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:5). The mind grabbing fact, though, is that being unthankful is an arrogant state of mind. It opposes the power that God can strengthen us with, thereby stifling one’s ability to grow and overcome.
Consider, too, that we cannot glorify God in an unthankful state of mind. “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). What is it that glorifies God? It is when we seek to become holy as He is holy. We can imagine that that is what we are doing by professing His name and attending services. But we have already established that without thankfulness we can only have a form of godliness that rejects his power.
We can rightly conclude that being thankful is vastly more important than is understood in the world. To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). We are to be thankful for all things — both the pleasant or the difficult things that try us and give us opportunity to grow in God’s holy character.
Being thankful means that we look to God in every aspect of our lives. Christ is our example. “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). The thankful know, as Christ did, that we can do no godly thing without our God. It speaks to God’s involvement in even the smallest aspect of our day-to-day lives where it can be so easy to be dissatisfied with the things we think that we control.
Maybe that’s why thankfulness is so rare.