Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ingratitude

Ingratitude is a subtle killer. In my experience, it sneaks up on me. It saps your joy. Perhaps a better way to say it is that ingratitude is the vacuum created when our joy is not placed primarily in Jesus Christ. We see, and we see that we do not have what we want or what we believe would be better to have (in order to be more fulfilled, more joyful, etc.), and thus our gaze departs from the blessings we presently enjoy and looks upon the void where the thing we want (we believe) should be. Ingratitude, as far as I understand it, never stems from simply not liking what we have -it is birthed through desiring something additional, something more, something which we think will make everything so much more how we believe it should be. It sees present blessings and situations and struggles only as inconvenient obstacles or unfortunate shackles keeping us from what would really make us happiest.

So ingratitude involves many things... unbelief, lack of trust in God's providence, pride, covetousness, and idolatry. What is that idol we so desire, which brings us to disdain or take for granted the blessings God has already brought to us? What is it we want so badly that we do not believe that God has us right where He wants us, in struggles and trials of His design to conform us into what He wants... which may not be what our lusts want? These are the kinds of questions I need to ask myself. I realize that I am often ungrateful, and my ungratefulness is only the shadow of my idolatrous desire for a thing, a situation, a way of life, a hear, a vocation, or anything which I do not currently have. Ingratitude is like its shadow because, while not the thing itself, the ingratitude is inseparable from it.

O Father, may I lose this ingratitude, trusting in every situation as a gift from Your hand to confirm me into the image of Jesus Christ. May I see Jesus Christ, alone, as my treasure. May I not fall prey to my lusts which see the "grass" as "greener" on my brother's "yard." May I rejoice in Jesus Christ, no matter what the circumstances, and joyfully give thanks for the multitude of blessings given to me besides Him which I am so blind to every day. I give thanks for you, Jesus, for my wife, my kids, my job, my home, my friends, my church, my struggles, my challenges, my weakness, so that I might depend upon Christ as my Highest Treasure all the more.

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