The Discipline of Gratitude


We are an ungrateful people.

I will give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name,
and make known to others what He has done.
I will sing to Him, sing praises to Him,
and tell of all His wonderful acts (1 Chronicles 16:8-9).
I will rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
and give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

A young man with a bandaged hand approached the clerk at the post office.  “Sir, could you please address this post card for me?” The clerk did so gladly, and then agreed to write a message on the card.

He then asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”  The young man looked at the card for a moment and then said, “Yes, add a PS: ‘Please excuse the handwriting.’” 

We are an ungrateful people. Writing of man in Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky says, “If he is not stupid, he is monstrously ungrateful! Phenomenally ungrateful. In fact, I believe that the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”  Luke’s account of the cleansing of the 10 lepers underscores the human tendency to expect grace as our due and to forget to thank God for His benefits. “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18). 

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