Psalm 136:1 - Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Outside my back door is a bird feeder.
In the last two years, I have made sure this feeder is always well-stocked and has never gone dry. In truth, my feeder 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 unearned 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 for just a second and say, "Hey, Reverend, thanks a lot for what you're doing here! 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 has any of those birds said a word of gratitude. They haven't come to my window and tapped out a word of thanks in Morse code. In the Disney cartoons birds are friendly little beasties that are not above doing the dishes or cleaning the cottage or helping with housework. So far that hasn't happened to me.
On the contrary, when I come out my back door, one of the birds gives a chirp of annoyance, a squeak of indignation, a squawk of warning, and they all take off and fly elsewhere. Upon occasion, one of the braver birds will show his displeasure by landing in the closest bush and from that place of relative security, make it perfectly clear that he is offended and outraged by my unannounced interruption of his meal: the meal which I provided. I'm not above telling you this scarcity of appreciation, this shortage of thanksgiving, wears pretty thin.
I wonder what do I have to do to prove myself. What? Will these birds ever get it? Will they ever figure out I'm there to feed them, to help them, to care for them? What do I have to do to get through to them?
Quite probably, those are the same questions God has been asking about unappreciative, ungrateful, unthankful humanity.
Consider at the beginning of human history God created a perfect world. Wonderful weather, an inviting environment, fantastic food -- were just the beginning of His gifts He gave to our first ancestors. But there was more. He gave them health, and I'm not talking about reasonable health for a short span of years. I'm talking about perfect health which would have lasted forever. As far as companionship was concerned, that's where God really pulled the stops. He custom designed Adam and Eve to complement, to complete, to fulfill each other. It was fantastic!
And what was their reaction? It was not one of thanks. It still isn't.
This is why we who have been rescued and redeemed by the Christ ought to be filled with an appreciation for the Lord, which can't be contained, with praises that can't be silenced.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for all You have done, for the Savior's sacrifice, accept the thanks of a grateful and forgiven soul. 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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