Why is “being thankful” difficult?
Have you ever given that question much thought? Why is it so difficult for us to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness? I’m sure many of us consider ourselves to be grateful, but are we really? Think of everything that the Lord has given to us and yet many times we find ourselves desiring more and more and becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what we have.
God’s Word has numerous verses and illustrations of the importance and need of being thankful:
- I Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.”
- Psalm 69:30 “I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.”
- Psalm 118:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
This is just a small sampling of the verses that are associated with thankfulness and thanksgiving. With so much instruction and encouragement to be thankful, why do we continue to struggle with this important quality in our daily lives? I think that we can all agree that there are times in our lives when it is naturally easy to be thankful. When I hear that my children are having a good day or that they did well on a test, I’m thankful. When something “good” happens to me, I’m thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed on me. When I have the occasion to visit family and friends who I haven’t seen for a long time, I’m thankful for the people in my life that are near and dear to my heart. Being thankful in the “good times” is naturally easy because of the blessings that I personally receive from these occurrences or people in my life.
But, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves not giving thanks even in the good times. We can easily develop a sense of entitlement and a heart that believes we deserve these good things – after all, I’m a good person and I should have a good life. Sometimes a history lesson or two helps to put a healthy perspective on our tendency towards selfishness and entitlement.
We live in a state where parents have many options for the educational choice for their children. For the past 19 years, Faith Christian School has strived to be a viable option for parents who want a Christ-centered educational program for their children. Prior to 1997, the church family at Faith Church prayed for God’s will concerning a Christian school. Through the leadership of Pastor Viars and other men like Dale Davidson, Dan Wickert, and Bob Leffew, the dream of a Christian school at Faith became a reality. In 1997, Faith Christian School opened its doors to 46 students! A Christian school requires a lot of sacrifice and support from many different sources. Maintaining a quality program, with A+ facilities while compensating staff appropriately, involves a lot of prayer, oversight, and faithful support in many ways. Many struggles, many challenges, and a ton of work have been involved in providing a Christ-centered educational program for families and students at Faith Christian School. So, my questions are, Are we thankful for the blessing of Christian education? Do our current alumni show thankfulness through their faithful on-going support of FCS? Do our current families and students enter the doors at Faith with a proper perspective of past students, families, and donors who have given sacrificially to provide a wonderful educational option for them? Does our staff (myself included) conduct themselves with a proper understanding of the incredible opportunity to teach at an institution that stands for biblical truth with the chance to help mold and influence young people in their futures and in their current walk with Christ?” What an incredible trust that we all have!
As I alluded to earlier, FCS has been blessed by past individuals and families who have given sacrificially and faithfully to the program here at Faith. We were reviewing past giving and support reports, and it was truly overwhelming to see the number of donors and supporters that the Lord directs to FCS! It is amazing to see the impact that a faithful monthly gift of $20 can have on the overall bottom line. One of our dear supporters of our school was Mr. Jack Viol. Brother Viol died a couple of years ago at the age of 100! He dearly loved the school, and he gave sacrificially to help support the teachers and the students at FCS. When he died, his gift to the school was over 1.8 million dollars! While some of these funds have been distributed into the school’s endowment, much of this gift was funneled back into the program of FCS to be a blessing and encouragement to the families, students, and staff. This past summer we implemented 3 projects to help our school program: new carpeting for the entire school; new personal computers for our high school students and teachers; and we started a couple of bus routes to help reach more students and provide transportation to school. Each one of these initiatives represents a significant cost factor, and they were mostly funded through the funds from Jack Viol’s gift. I wonder if I take gifts and opportunities like this for granted. If we’re not careful, we can get in the dangerous rut of thinking – “well, it’s about time…” or “well, I deserve this…” and before you know it, we go on our merry way with not even a hint of thankfulness directed towards the Lord and/or the individuals who made these blessings become a reality.
Click here to read Part 2.