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Today’s Americans have more to make their lives easier than any people who have ever lived. We live in the finest houses, wear the nicest clothing and eat the best food that any generation has ever known.
Yet, at the same time, so many of us take it all for granted instead of for gratitude.
Why do we take for granted the many blessings we have? Why do we fail to be more thankful?
My guess is that conceited pride is the greatest reason for our thanklessness. It is so easy to blame all of our failures on somebody else and take credit for all of our successes.
And that doesn’t leave room for gratitude. We never seem to be thankful for what we have earned.
When you get your paycheck, you don’t write a note of thanks to the boss. More likely you feel like telling him he’s not paying you what you are worth.
To be thankful means that we must admit that we have received more than we deserved. Gratitude comes from a sense of unworthiness.
The Bible tells us to humble ourselves, but instead we like to boast and to promote ourselves, and we like to use our blessings to feed our pride and to support our ego. That’s why we are not thankful.
Also, we’re not thankful because we concentrate on our troubles instead of on our blessings.
A line from Lew Wallace’s great book, “Ben Hur,” tells us: “In thankfulness for present mercies nothing so becomes us as losing sight of past ills.”
But some people never learn to forget and go forward.
Instead of gratitude for the good, they are only bitter over some bad. There life stops for them and they become dead souls.
I love the word “blessed.” The Greek word for “blessed” is makarios, which is a word used to describe the gods.
The word “blessed” literally means an inner joy that is untouchable by the world. “Blessed” is a much better word than “happiness.” That word is built on the word “hap,” and literally means chance.
Human happiness is often dependent on the chances of life, over which we have no control.
A sudden illness, a deep disappointment, the loss of a material object are many of the things that can change happiness into sorrow.
But when we have blessedness within our soul, nothing on earth can touch us. There are three things that will destroy blessedness: a sense of guilt, a feeling of forsakenness, and a fear of defeat.
And there are three cheers to combat these destructive elements: the cheer of forgiveness, the cheer of companionship, and the cheer of victory.
Many people have received great blessings, but they are not happy and in their hearts is no peace.
But for those who recognize their blessings and express their gratitude there is spiritual wholeness awaiting.
Bob Mueller is the assistant vice president of mission & stewardship at Hosparus. For information, visit www.bobmueller.org. The views in this column are those of the writer.