The apostle Paul in writing to the Roman church highlights unthankfulness as a damning posture that the world takes towards Christ.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This posture of ingratitude is really kind of a downward spiral, that he traced all the way back to creation. When the creature, out of pride, withholds acknowledgment of God and gratitude, Paul shows the toll it takes on conscience and morality. In the rest of this chapter, Paul describes a host of sins that begin simply because of unthankfulness.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
According to Paul, the fall of man and the condition of humanity in 1st century Rome was really due to a lack of finding a place for thankfulness in humanity. Paul however, stands as a contrast to the proud generation of his day. He was a very thankful person. He is seen in many verses of scripture to be continually verbalizing his heartfelt thanks to God. He is thankful in difficult times, he is thankful for others, he is thankful during good times, indeed he is always thankful. Wouldn’t you like to be more like Paul in this area? I know I would. So I have to ask the question, how was Paul so thankful? I believe it was because of how much grace he had received.
See, there cannot be true gratitude unless one understands the depths of grace shown by the bestower. When someone does you a “normal” favour, you are thankful. Such as opening the door for you, or getting you a cup of coffee in the morning. However true gratitude stems from an unexpected, undeserved or unusual favour..
The Greek word for thanksgiving, connotes this idea of grace. Thus when Paul, immersed in Greek culture is being truly thankful. He understands that God has been undeservedly kind to him, so he is deeply grateful
The world will always be unthankful because it has not experienced the grace of God. But as believers we have every reason to be truly thankful, just like Paul was, for we have been shown the sublime mercies of God in His son Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate thanksgiving, or just each new day, let us bear Paul’s example, remember his passion for thankfulness, and endeavour to display a thankful posture, in the face of a lost world.
– Pastor Olu Jegede