Gratitude vs. Ingratitude: A Clue to Your Theology

Yesterday I drove over 500 miles. I was on the road both when the sun rose and when it set. I drove through mists and rains on the trip south in the morning. When I returned north in the afternoon and evening, the skies still were filled with storm clouds from the rains but occasionally sunlight would throw lances of gold across the roads and the trees. When I neared my home, whitetails scampered across the roads. This season’s rut is nearing and so the bucks are growing careless because their focus is not on their own safety at the moment. Some of the trophy bucks who are normally solitary and otherwise keep off the beaten paths now appear more often in populated areas. I love to watch them, especially the ways in which their hides change colors with the seasons, the ways the bucks mark their territories via rubs and scrapes. I love to watch the fawns lose their spots and grow bigger and less skittish, their moms weaning them and teaching them to forage for themselves. It’s a spectacle wherein I feel gratitude. Gratitude reveals a lot about a person’s theology.

There’s a passage in Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus healed ten lepers who cried out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (v.13). And Jesus did heal them, all ten of them. Guess how many came back to thank Jesus? Ten? No. Nine? No. Eight? No. How about five? No. How about two? No. How many lepers, miraculously healed by the Lord Jesus of their leprosy, thanked God? One. Again, gratitude reveals a lot about a person’s theology.

And Jesus’ subtle response? “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”(v.17). When a person demonstrates thankfulness/gratitude, he reveals his theology.

I had some good news come my way recently. I accomplished two big professional goals I had set for myself. Plus, a door opened in ministry for me, something I have wanted to do for a long time, a position I’m beginning soon. And I am, well, grateful. God gives good things.

Folks divide into those who feel and show gratitude and those who don’t. For me, it seems the scent of gratitude is better, proper, in accordance with design. It reflects the proper order of things, our dependence upon the Creator, our posture of thankfulness to Him who does all things well.

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