Here we are a week or so after Christmas and I had an interesting conversation with my 5 yr old. My wife and I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a few deals in their Christmas clearance section. We picked up a few more items before we left. As a treat for our 5 yr old we bought him some special markers and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coloring book to go with it. This was a little treat for him.
When we arrived home he began to color in the book using his new markers. In approximately 1 minute he began whining because the markers were not making the colors he thought they would. If you’re a parent then you know how frustrating it is to have your child whine any time. But when it’s over something new they have received it makes me even more frustrating. Here we were just a few days from Christmas, there were toys everywhere, we just bought him something new, and he was complaining and whining.
I took him back to his room and explained to him that he was being ungrateful and it makes me and his mother very upset because we bought this latest gift for him and he is complaining and whining. This really isn’t a big deal because, let’s be honest, most kids have a difficult time with gratitude. Children are not born gracious. Think about it, when your kids open gifts what is the thing we all say to them “What do you say?”….”Thank You”. We have to teach them to have gratitude…that’s our job and we do it in various ways.
This brings me to the point of this post. I was driving to work and thinking about my son when it hit me: Does God view my complaining the way I view my son’s? Am I ungrateful towards God the way my son is ungrateful? Think about it, God gives us so many blessings (gifts) and we still seem to find so many reasons to complain. Here are some of the ways we are ungrateful towards God:
Comparing Our Gifts To Others
This is one that most of us are guilty of. I sometimes call this “Facebook Envy” problem. For instance, you have a 2012 SUV but your neighbor just bought a 2015 BMW SUV and you suddenly hate your car. What we don’t understand sometimes is that the value of your neighbor’s vehicle does not impact how nice yours is. I would think that God views this just like your kid who complains about his bike because his friend got a newer nicer bike. God blesses us in many ways and we should not envy our “neighbor’s” gifts because we don’t feel ours measure up. God knows what he’s doing and we should be thankful for the gifts he has given us.
Always Wanting More
This is what my son has a problem with. Christmas morning he was unhappy with the amount of toys…he kept asking “Are there any more for me?”. But guess what, I have that problem occasionally as well. Usually it comes in the form of Money. I trust God to provide for me and my family but sometimes I get greedy. I take more side jobs than I should take and that shows a lack of faith. I have to rely on God more and realize that He may not give me a LOT of money because I’ll rely on IT and not Him.
This is the catch all and it goes hand in hand with the two above when it comes being ungrateful towards God. This is the one I’m guilty of most. I am unbelievably blessed by God in every way. But I seem to freak out when something “goes wrong”. But God consistently turns those little problems into something good. I need to be grateful for all God does for me instead of complaining the next time something happens that I’m not expecting.
[pullquote]Philipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.[/pullquote]
The Bible tells us in Philipians that we should be thankful in every situation. When you are being thankful you can’t be ungrateful towards God. This incident with my son has opened my eyes to my own ungratefulness. It’s so easy to see it in other people but now I see how my own complaining is like telling God that the blessings in my life are not enough.
This year I am resolving to be more grateful towards God and stop my complaining. I know that I won’t be able to stop it altogether but I am going to try and reduce it dramatically. I know I would be happy if my kids would do that. And pleasing God should be what we all strive to do.