Taken for Granted or Accepted in Gratitude?

Uncle Harry gives his five year old nephew Carter a gift. Carter grabs it, anxious to unwrap the package. Carter’s mother says, “What do you say to Uncle Harry, Carter?” As Carter attacks the wrapping he mumbles, “Thank you, Uncle Harry.” Carter’s mom is trying to build into her son a basic social skill, that of expressing gratitude. Maybe Carter will remember to say “thank you” the next time he receives a gift, maybe not.

Gratitude doesn’t always come easily. That’s why it’s good that the United States has a holiday dedicated to giving thanks. We need the yearly reminder. Hopefully Thanksgiving Day has long term residual effect, impacting the other 364 days of the year. Gratitude is good. The opposite of being grateful is taking things for granted, and that’s not good.

Taking something for granted means we…

… give it little attention…

… think we’ll always have it…

… don’t appreciate it…

… think we deserve it.

Taking something for granted is harmful because we

… enjoy something without even noticing we’re enjoying it…

are shocked when we lose it because we assumed we’d always have it… … fail to see the value of what we’re enjoying…

… arrogantly think we deserve it, failing to give thanks to others or to God.

Accepting something with gratitude means we …

give it our full attention…

… don’t assume we’ll always have it…

… appreciate it

… see it as a gift and not something we’ve earned or deserve.

Accepting something with gratitude is helpful because we…

… enjoy the fact that we are enjoying it…

… we’re not shocked if we lose it, just grateful we had it for as long as we did…

… see the value of what we’ve been given…

… humbly realize we don’t deserve it, giving thanks to others and God.

There’s a phrase in an old Christian song that goes like this, “your many blessings, name them one by one and see what the Lord has done.” We’ve been given so much. Are we taking it for granted or accepting it in gratitude?

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2

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