“We just don’t realize how people in other countries live.”
“We don’t think to be grateful for all we have.”
“We’re so blessed.”
I never hear more grateful comments than after I’ve presented the needs of orphans around the world. It seems human nature to compare our own situation to theirs and suddenly view our own blessings with greater clarity.
Of course, coming to this place of gratitude is a good thing. Can we ever give God the thanks due Him?
Yet these comments often leave me unsettled. Today, I’m going to be bold and tell you why:
1) The gratitude expressed is for the material wealth and ease we have in the US, when our true treasure is of a spiritual and eternal nature.
I appreciate a good cup of coffee, am grateful for a beach vacation, and I recognize health care, a working furnace, and options in my closet as gifts. I should not take them for granted.
But these things will always pale in comparison to the forgiveness of my sins and the presence of an active, loving God in my life. My words of gratitude should follow proportionately. I may thank the Almighty multiple times of day for my more-than-ample food, but how often do I thank Him for rescuing my soul?
2) The gratitude appears to be conditional, based on current, comfortable circumstances.
Again, the comforts we enjoy as Americans should be recognized and appreciated. But the Word says we are to give thanks in all circumstances (I Thess. 5:18).
I confess I’m woefully slow to give thanks when I learn of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis, when I endure a strained relationship, or when finances seem dire. It honestly took me a couple of years to offer sincere gratitude after we lost our first child to a miscarriage.
It is difficult to utter words of thanks when we ache with broken hearts. But isn’t this when gratitude shows itself true?
I believe that thanking God in the midst of trauma and pain sends satan scurrying for cover. It lets him know that we rest in God despite our ease being taken from us, that our faith is real, and that he has no power over us.
And I believe it brings joy to our Father as He sees us trust in His faithful, loving nature, regardless of our trials and agony.
I don’t know the circumstances you’re facing as we enter this Thanksgiving season. Perhaps you’re in a place where you’re just not feeling all that grateful. If so, I’m sorry you’re facing a season of pain. But let me encourage you: by focusing on the greatest gifts God’s given—those which cannot be taken away—and declaring a stance of gratitude, you’re offering a sacrifice of praise that honors God with profound significance and wages war on the evil one.
As you remember The Boaz Project in prayer this month, please remember:
- To offer a sacrifice of praise. While we often focus on the millions of children still without care, let’s focus our prayers this month on giving thanks for God’s life-changing power, His eternal goodness, and His role of the Father to the fatherless.
- To thank God for the resources He’s provided for the apartment building we’re constructing in Kenya. We’re 30% funded!
- To express gratitude for one another, this community of His children that He’s brought together to reach orphans.
- To thank God in advance for all He’ll accomplish during our annual Breakfast with Boaz fundraiser or Nov. 7
P.S.—A great way to express gratitude for all you’ve been given is to share it with “the least of these.” Consider providing a Christmas gift for an orphan! Details are below.