Don’t allow Satan to enter in and fill you with ungratefulness. What can we do to have a grateful heart?

The last day of school; a bittersweet time as some anxiously await summer vacation and others yearn for more time with friends and the stability of a school routine.  I sit in my rocking chair surrounded by sweet eight-year-old faces, opening the cards and gifts they bring me. The best gifts I receive are not the gift cards, flowers, or candy, but the words written in homemade cards or letters from parents. They state how grateful they are for loving and teaching their child. Hearts filled with gratefulness.

But not everyone. This year proved to be a challenging one.  The energy required for a few left me feeling exhausted at the end of each day.  These are the students and parents that I yearn to receive a thank-you from. A small note or email with a sincere thank-you or recognition of appreciation.

Is this how God feels when we are ungrateful or don’t take the time to express our gratitude for the blessings He has showered on us?  Luke 17:12-19 tells the story of ten lepers that asked Jesus to cleanse and heal them. Out of the ten, only one turned back and glorified and thanked God for his healing.  Only one. How many times have we been like the nine lepers? 

Ungratefulness is a sin, and it comes from Satan. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 states, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”  Don’t allow Satan to enter in and fill you with ungratefulness.

What can we do to have a grateful heart? Remember to thank God daily.  Psalm 92:1 reminds us that, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and sing praises.” Remember to say please and thank-you often to others. The mental health benefits of showing gratitude are encouraging.  Symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression can be decreased when we show gratitude. Finally, don’t lose sight of God’s goodness. The Israelites were brought into the Promised Land after 40 years of bondage and they still questioned God’s provision. They even expressed a desire to go back to Egypt into slavery. In times of tribulation, look to see how God got you to where you are in life and give Him praise.  

The love I have given every student over the last 25 years is deep, but it doesn’t begin to compare to the love that God has for His children. He longs for us to recognize our ingratitude and repent. Henry Adams stated, “A teacher affects eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.” My influence on the lives of the most challenging students may not be noticed yet, but God is in control.  He has the power to change anyone’s ungrateful heart, even mine.

Click for podcast: “What does the Bible say about thankfulness and gratitude?”