Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving - a Time for Repentance?

I came across this bit from comedian Louis CK. It's pretty funny, which means Dane Cook will probably steal it for his next album.

That bit was rather convicting, actually. It's truly amazing how fast I can start to take for granted things that should amaze me. The example of flight delays really hits home, because I had a stretch recently where ten consecutive flights were delayed. I remember one time in particular when I had a job in the Dallas area, which always makes for a long day as it is. The flight there got delayed, so I was feeling a time crunch on the job, then I got back to the airport in time, only to find out that the return flight was getting delayed repeatedly. I wound up not getting back to Chicago until almost midnight, and started to complain about it.

And then it hit me - even with delays and all sorts of 'problems', I was able to go to Dallas, do a days' work, and get home to Chicago all in one day! What did I have to complain about, exactly? Oh, it wasn't as convenient as I had planned. Big deal. It's utterly amazing what I was able to get done that day - throughout 99% of human history, that roundtrip would've taken months or years, and I was able to do it in hours. And yet I was ungrateful for the wonder of flight, and all the other gifts God has given us that made such a thing possible. Instead of acknowledging God's incredible grace in letting us have such things, I was acting as if it was owed to me, and someone owed me an apology for the inconvenience.

We have a word for people who act like this: ingrate. We all know what it's like to see someone get a gift, something they don't deserve, and treat it with contempt. Few things are more loathsome than a person who takes such blessings for granted, acts like he's owed them, or complains that they're not good enough. And yet, that's exactly what I found myself doing.

Which brings me to Thanksgiving, and the point of this post. We are justifiably angry when someone is ungrateful to us, and hopefully we all try to properly show thanks to others. How much more should we thank God for all the innumerable blessings He gives us? If ingratitude towards another person is despicable, how much moreso is it despicable towards God? And yet, how many of God's blessings do we take for granted every day, as if he somehow owes us, and we even complain if his gifts aren't up to our standards!

I've been slowly reading the book Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges. It's about the sins that act like they're not all that bad - while it's easy (and right) to condemn adultery, how many even notice or question sins like selfishness or anxiety? Did you even know anxiety was a sin? So the book is about "confronting the sins we tolerate", and it's amazingly convicting. Get it, go through it, and take your time digesting it.

Oh, one of the chapters is on "Unthankfulness". That's the tie in.

So anyway, this Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks. For everything. And don't just do it for one day, but make it as normal as breathing. Because when you look at what we get compared to what we deserve, there's nothing that's not entirely owing to grace.

1 comment:

ben said...

good words -- and will have to check that book out some time...