The High Calling of Thankfulness
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Many men praise their wives from time to time but how selfish is that praise? Are you thankful for your wife because of all the ways that she blesses you? Are you thankful for her beauty; her home cooked meals; her funny jokes or those special times alone. It is important to be grateful for all her blessings but is that really a spirit of thankfulness?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” It does not say be thankful in all good and comfortable circumstances. If we apply this to our marriages then it means be thankful for our wives at all times. Are you thankful for your wife when she is sick? … When she is unattractive? …when she is depressed? … When she is disabled? …When she is struggling with mental illness? ...When she does not want you to touch her? ...When she is struggling with her weight?
I heard a story about an awful auto accident that left a young wife very disabled. While she was still in the hospital rehab she received divorce papers from her husband. His only explanation was that “he did not marry her for this.” It’s easy to get angry at this selfish punk but have we ever lapsed into self-pity just because the house needs cleaning.
Think of the worst day in your married life and asked yourself if you expressed thanks in the middle of that dark moment. Did you complain? Do you blame? Do you get mad at God and ask him how He could hate you so much? Thankfulness is truly real when expressed in the debts of pain and trail.
I believe that the spiritual discipline of thankfulness is rooted in a holy belief that circumstances do not dictate God’s blessing. We live in a day of very shallow faith. We ask God to bless us with things and whine when he does not pay our credit card bill.
1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
She is God’s gift and all of His gifts are very good. However, she is not God’s gift to make you happy or comfortable. In this modern age “materialism” is one of the great enemies of marriage. It causes couples to buy homes way beyond their means or to get into debt instead of waiting for God to provide. It also causes men to view their wives in a dehumanizing “value” context. I love her because she makes me happy, she cleans the house, she cooks great and I’m attracted to her. The suffocating weight of this type of entitlement love has destroyed many marriages. Selfishness is the soul cancer that kills love with criticism, disapproval and condemnation, when a man’s shallow expectations of his wife are not fulfilled.
We need to see our wife as God’s child. We need to love her with a holy love that accepts her as God made her. Selfishness is the enemy of genuine love and wise is the man that hates every hint of his selfish core.
"In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years' War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, an average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children:
“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms,
Hath led us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.”
Here was a man who knew thanksgiving comes from love of God, not from outward circumstances."
So are you really thankful for your wife? Is she a gift from God? Do you praise God for her strengths and express equal thankfulness for her weaknesses? Is your contentment with her based on circumstances of a changing life or is there a deep abiding gratitude to God for the special gift God gave you in your wife.
“You can bear your own faults, and why not a fault in your wife?”- Benjamin Franklin
“He is well paid that is well satisfied.”- William Shakespeare
“Christians can be and ought to be content with the simple necessities of life…First, when you have God near you and for you, you don’t need extra money or extra things to give you peace and security…God is always better than gold…Second, we can be content with the simplicity because the deepest, most satisfying delights God gives us through creation are free gifts from nature and from loving relationships with people. After your basic needs are met, accumulated money begins to diminish your capacity for these pleasures rather than increase them. Buying things contributes absolutely nothing to the heart’s capacity for joy…Third, we should be content with the simple necessities of life because we could invest the extra we make for what really counts (God’s kingdom) ---John Piper from Desiring God, 1996, P. 102-103, Used by Permission,
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