Daily Devotional - 16 July 2020
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
We know that God wants us to be thankful and grateful. Over 100 times in the Bible, you can find God’s reminder to us for the need to give thanks. For what? Well, as the above verse tells us...everything! God wants us to be people of thankfulness...not presuming upon His graciousness, not complaining and whining, not with a self-entitled attitude, “I don’t need to be grateful...it’s my right.” Thankfulness does not come naturally to us in our natural sinful condition, which is why God has given us so many reminders.
The opposites of thankfulness are unthankfulness and ingratitude. These rob us of our ability to praise God and are the fertilizer from which other ugly human characteristics arise...like impatience, bitterness and jealousy. How often do we excuse this negative list? I don’t need to be patient, they need to hurry up. I would rather remain bitter for the rest of my days than forgive. Or take jealousy. If left unchecked, jealousy–being envious of another–can lead to murder.
Consider the story of Cain and Abel. Thankful Abel brings an offering to God, some of the best of his flock. God is pleased. Begrudging Cain brings an offering to God, withholding the best for himself. God lets it be known that his offering is not of the same high quality as his brother’s, but “[he] will be accepted if [he] does what is right.” Does Cain acknowledge his inferior offering and determine to do better next time? No. He determines to get rid of the competition (Genesis 4).
Cain ends up killing his brother Abel, but not in a fit of rage. The murder is entirely premeditated. Cain invites his brother to go out into the field and then, when he has him in a place with no witnesses, he attacks him. Abel is killed in cold blood. Why? Because of jealousy.
Jealousy is an ugly quality, one we must work hard at to uproot and not excuse. Where jealousy is allowed to grow, murder is soon to follow...not necessarily of a physical kind, but destructive nonetheless. Jealousy’s intent is to destroy the object of one’s envy. Actual murder is one means; the destruction of another’s reputation is another. Gossip is abhorrent to God, but in the mouth of an individual riddled with jealousy, it takes on a whole new life of its own. Proverbs 10:18 tells us, “Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool.” God is very clear that “ If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see (1 John 4:20)?
So what’s the solution? Thankfulness! Allow gratitude to grow the attitude of contentment in your life. If we do not actively work against the development of the ugly qualities of sinful human life, we will find them taking over. A regular dose of giving a thankful shout-out to God is a good place to begin. And what should we be thankful for? Everything!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!