Ungrateful heart? Why that title during the Thanksgiving holiday season? I know this is the time of year we focus on thankfulness and not our lack of gratitude. However, Thanksgiving reminds me of how ungrateful I am the remainder of the year. We’ve put the dishes away and our company has gone home and it is easy to slip into the “ungrateful heart” thing as life gets back to normal.
In order to understand and overcome a thankless attitude, I studied some women of the Bible that had ungrateful hearts. What was the conclusion? That an unappreciative mindset is not only prevalent, but is as old as time! However, we can also learn from these women so that we don’t fall into the same trap.
THE FIRST UNGRATEFUL HEART! (GENESIS CHAPTER 3)
Yes, an ungrateful heart is as old as time. We know this because the first woman had one!
Eve lived in paradise and God walked with her in the ‘cool of the day.’ (Genesis Chapter 3:8) Just imagine walking through the beauty of the Garden of Eden while chatting with God! I feel relaxed and peaceful just thinking about it! I know in those circumstances I would have had a grateful heart.
But that Eve, she messed everything up in this world. I can’t wait to see her in heaven because I have a few questions that I want answered! Instead of being grateful for all she had, Eve longed for the one thing God told her not to eat.
What was the result of her ungratefulness? She was kicked out of the garden! Honestly, the eviction was a blessing because God didn’t want them to live in sin forever. (Genesis 3: 22)
Although I say I want to question Eve, I admit that I am not much different. My blessings are great but I still long for things I don’t have in this world. So, I say to God: “What I am asking for is reasonable, so why don’t you grant my request? ” Do you ever ask that question, or am I the only one?
LOT’S WIFE WAS UNGRATEFUL FOR SALVATION! (GENESIS 19: 1-26)
She lived in a decadent city with all the material things she desired. Angels came to save her family before God destroyed this city that was full of sin, however, she was reluctant to leave. Talk about an ungrateful heart! Her reluctance caused her to disobey and look back at Sodom and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
Salvation was ahead but she longed for her past.
Well, I wouldn’t have looked back. I always have an eternal perspective and appreciate my salvation -NOT! Consider all the worldly pleasures and comforts we cling to in our lives. There is a song that we sing that says “I will go wherever you want me to go.” Honestly, I don’t like singing that line because I am afraid where God will send me!
So, do you look ahead at what salvation has for you, or do you look back at the pleasures and benefits you enjoy here on earth? I don’t know about you, but I am glad God is out of the ‘pillar of salt’ business.
MARTHA THE COMPLAINER! (LUKE 10:38-42)
We don’t think of Martha as ungrateful, but a quick look at her life tells us she is more like us than we know. There were times in her life when she didn’t appreciate Jesus. She appealed to our Lord to make her sister help with the meal instead of recognizing the importance and privilege of listening to Jesus’ words.
I kind of cringe when I write it down and think about Martha’s attitude, because it is much like mine. My busy life interferes with my quiet time and I struggle to focus when I pray and (gasp) there are times I even skip my quiet time! Like Martha, I have more important things to do! And, if I’m honest, there are times I chastise Jesus in my heart for not ‘taking my side’ and granting MY desires. Yes, sometimes I complain like Martha! In fact, more often than I like to admit.
The result of Martha’s ungrateful heart was a gentle correction. Jesus explained to her that Mary was doing the right thing. Sound familiar? However, I do wonder how long my correction will continue to be gentle? He is a patient God!
SAPPHIRA DIDN’T APPRECIATE HER FREEDOM TO CHOOSE (Acts 5: 1-10)
In politics they always say that the coverup is what brings the person down. It was true for Nixon and Clinton and for Sapphira too.
The property sold for a nice sum and Sapphira and her husband decided to give part of the money to the church and keep some for themselves. However, they told the church they were donating all the proceeds. It was a well planned scheme with matching stories and everything. So, when asked if they contributed everything, they both covered their tracks and stood by one another and unashamedly said YES.
The sad part is they had not sinned before the lie. They had the freedom to choose how to handle the money from the sale. I don’t think their only struggle was greed for money, but also their longing for prestige or importance. You see, they wanted to keep some of the money while receiving the credit and honor of donating everything like others had done.
So, to coverup their true hearts they committed the sin of lying, which is what caused their death. You see, they were killed by God immediately for lying to the Holy Spirit. It’s a tough story to read and understand.
How often does this freedom to choose result in sin in our own lives? Do we choose to exaggerate our accomplishments or the successes of our children to impress others? Do we choose to compromise our language or convictions to fit in with the group? Do we choose to tell “white lies” to get us out of trouble?
GOD’S KIND OF TOUGH ON THE UNGRATEFUL HEART.
Instead of removing His created beings from their home, why not remove the temptation?
Don’t you wonder why a simple turn of the head resulted in Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt?
Honestly, most of us understand Martha and how she felt doing all the work while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.
And come on God, death for a little lie. Most of us can feel some empathy for Sapphira.
He is tough because just like these Biblical ladies an ungrateful heart leads us right into sin.
SO, WHAT ABOUT OUR UNGRATEFUL HEARTS?
Like Eve, do we focus on what we don’t have instead of all the blessings surrounding us in our lives?
Lot’s wife took pleasure in worldly sin instead of salvation. Do we long for the things of this world instead of longing for eternity?
Are we Martha the complainer?
Have we lied to the Holy Spirit like Sapphira? I shudder to think about that possible reality.
FIND WAYS TO MAKE 2022 THE YEAR OF A GRATEFUL HEART
In this article we discussed how Lot’s wife lacked appreciation for the salvation offered. To help us cherish Jesus’ great gift meditate on the following salvation Scriptures. There are 12 listed. Why not meditate on one each month by starting in December 2021 and finishing in November (before Thanksgiving) 2022! Use a commentary or look up the verses online during each month to take you deeper into the meaning. Here are the verses:
Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 51:6, Luke 2:29-32, John 10:28, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Ephesians 2: 8-9, Philippians 2:12, 2 Timonty 3:15, Hebrews 2: 3 and 1 Peter 2: 2-3.
You can find additional ideas for making next year a thankful one by checking out a blog I wrote in 2019: Five Ways to Jumpstart a Thankful Heart. If you need a mentor to emulate, this article also shares some Biblical characters who had grateful hearts. And for some interesting facts about Thanksgiving click here.
Any suggestions on how to be more appreciative in 2022? Put your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, what did you think about the ungrateful women of the Bible? Any ideas on how we can avoid the same sins?
As always, comments are not just welcomed, but encouraged. Love to hear your insights and they may help another sister in Christ. So, please share what is on your heart.