There are 3 basic attitudes when it comes to giving thanks.
1. WHATCHA TALKIN' BOUT WILLIS?
This is the attitude that views thanksgiving as unnecessary. There are people who think they deserve everything they have. After all, they worked hard for it. They earned it. If anyone should be thanked it should be them.
Jesus told a story about a farmer who had an attitude like this. In Luke 12:16 – 19 Jesus said, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
Notice how many times the rich man said “I” and “my.” He did not have any room in his heart to recognize God. Therefore, thanksgiving was unnecessary to him.
2. "I'M THE MOST THANKFUL PERSON EVER!!"
This is an attitude that is hypocritical in giving thanks. People with this attitude give thanks but don’t necessarily mean it, or only give thanks as a way to look good in front of others.
The Pharisee in Luke chapter 18 is a good example of this attitude. When the Pharisee prayed he talked all about himself! Luke 18:11 – 12, “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
This man was pretty proud of himself. So much so that in his prayer he was more impressed with himself than Who he was praying to. Plus, he looked good all dressed up at the temple. And what better opportunity than this so that others would be able to hear just how much he had done in his service for God. After all... he was so "thankful" for all that he himself had done.
3. "I HAVE BEEN BLESSED."
The person with this attitude is truly thankful. They recognize what they have and are genuinely grateful to God for their blessings.
The one leper in Luke 17 is a great example of this attitude. Jesus had healed 10 men of leprosy, but only one man came back and thanked Jesus. Plus, in an interesting twist to the story, this man who came back to thank Jesus was not even from Israel!! That’s why Jesus asks in Luke 17:17-18, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
I pray that we will be people with an attitude like the one leper…
May we recognize we have been blessed by God in our life…
May we be humble enough to return thanks for His goodness to us…
Humility is the key to thanksgiving.