Do you want to “do” for God or do you want God to “do” for you? One heart attitude is centered on self. One heart is full of gratitude.
I’ve said it many times: I fall into this dangerous trap, my natural state, of thinking that God is like a vending machine. If you put things in, you will get things out. The motivation for “doing” then can become the “getting.” But what happens when the “doing” produces nothing (that I can see, anyway), and the “getting” dries up?
Enter the November topic of choice for all bloggers, Instagram-ers, and Facebook sharers across America: GRATITUDE. Why do my actions for God (even down to the tiniest moment of quiet time) fall short and seem paper dry at times? Could it be because I am not grateful?
I am so very UNGRATEFUL.
It’s a little scary actually.
We always hear the words– we know the words– Jesus took your sin on himself and died on a cross in your place! But sometimes it’s just a happy story like Santa Claus braving chimneys to deliver children gifts. What I mean by that is not that at any time Jesus’ sacrifice is any less true or real or efficacious just because of what I THINK, (What He did is always true no matter what ones believes or does not believe about it) but what I mean is this: I let the truth of what He did for me on the cross matter to me about as much as the myth of Santa Claus matters to me. Oh, I have a head knowledge that what Jesus did for me was amazing and life changing, ETERNITY changing, but my soul has amnesia on this point sometimes.
How do I know?
I’m ungrateful. I want God to do for me. I put in my little coins, hold out my hand, and when the heavenly machine sits silent, I shout: “Come on! What gives?!” I want this. I want that. I want… I want.. I want… “I’m still waiting.”
And the quiet times become a sullen sort of toe in the water to see if maybe today–maybe, just maybe– God will see ALL that I do and finally, FINALLY match my effort.
Can you hear my sarcasm?
Good. Because that’s stupid. And I am foolish for acting that way, because let me say it again: JESUS DIED IN MY PLACE. Oh, yes, I may one day have to taste physical death, but Jesus made it possible for me to never have to taste ETERNAL death. I don’t know if anyone’s told you this before, but the human soul was made for eternity. Regardless of what you believe about Jesus, you will spend eternity somewhere when you die. For those who haven’t accepted Jesus, that place will be a place of eternal death and torment, separation from God forever. THAT’S what Jesus took on himself when he went to the cross. That’s what he wrestled into the grave and arose from victorious three days later.
So–ahem– not matching my effort? Yeah, right Kate. All the Bible studying, all the Christian service, giving to the poor, feeding the hungry, going to church, worshiping God– in fields, in cars, in Walmart lines– all the witnessing for Him could NEVER, EVER repay the God of this Universe taking human and yet sinless form, not deserving of death and yet dying a criminal’s death anyways, and on top of all of that taking on himself ALL THE SINS OF EVERY SINGLE HUMAN WHO EVER LIVED, WHO IS ALIVE NOW AND WHO HAS YET TO LIVE and suffering in himself the punishment for those sins. Nothing could match that.
Are you ashamed yet that you are not more grateful?
Yeah, me too.
Everyone talks about being more thankful, more grateful in November. Well, let me cap off with this: Thanksgiving doesn’t start at a table with Native Americans and Pilgrims and turkeys in the 1600s. Thanksgiving, true gratitude, starts at the cross of Christ.