1 Chronicles 16:34 - Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!
Outside my back door is a bird feeder.
Holding about ten pounds of seed, this is a large, well-stocked bird feeder. Understand, this contraption is not a squirrel feeder. In truth I do not like footing the feed bill for the multitudes of ravenous squirrels that hang around.
This is why this bird feeder is designed to give those unwelcomed trespassers a small electric shock. Understand, this shock isn't strong enough to hurt or harm; it's got just enough of a tingle to make the furry interlopers feel it's in their best interest to move on.
But I've wandered. I begin again: outside my back door is a bird feeder. In the last two years, it has provided a smorgasbord of seed, a never-emptied treasure trove of tasty treats for the cardinals, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other winged friends that regularly, almost religiously, help themselves to the bounty I have provided for them.
Now, you might think that every once in a while one or two of those feathered freeloaders might feel some kind of obligation to stop their feeding and say, "Hey, Reverend, thanks a lot. We just want to let you know your efforts have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated."
A person might think that would happen, but it hasn't.
Not once, not once in these years have any of those birds said a word of gratitude. They haven't come to my window and tapped out a word of appreciation in Morse code. In the Disney cartoons, birds are friendly little beasties who do the dishes and help with housework.
That hasn't happened.
On the contrary, when I come out my back door, the birds give a chirp of annoyance and fly away. Upon occasion, one of the braver birds will show his displeasure by landing in a place of relative security. Make it perfectly clear he is outraged by my unannounced interruption of his meal.
I think the Lord must feel the same way about us.
Consider, at the beginning of human history, God created a perfect world. Wonderful weather, an inviting environment, fantastic food were just the beginning of the gifts. But there was more. He gave our first ancestors perfect health, which would have lasted forever.
And what was Adam and Eve's reaction to all this God-given perfection? Did they spend age after endless age singing His praises? Not hardly! The opening chapters of the Bible tell how Satan came slithering in and suggested how, without too much work on their parts, Adam and Eve might be able to improve upon God's generosity. Scripture tells how our first parents embraced sin and, from that moment until now, in human hearts gratitude toward God is often displaced by discontent, which is not the way it should be.
Unlike my birds, we need to stop what we're doing and say "Thank You" to the Lord. We need to express our gratitude for His Son whose entire life was a sacrifice offered up to save sinful humanity. We need to show our appreciation for the Redeemer who forgives our sins and changes our eternity.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive my ingratitude, and accept my thanks for Your blessings which continue to be given in spite of me and not because of me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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