Ingratitude: The Anti-Longing
July 11, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
At Oak Hills we say our mission is “longing to know and make known the astonishing grace of God.” Every year I seek to take time to step back and take stock of how we are doing as a church, in light of our mission. We have many reasons to give glory to God for his work among us to fulfill this mission. We also have room to grow, as we always will this side of heaven. This summer, I want to encourage our growth in “longing” by looking at pictures of longing from Scripture, praying that we would be challenged and inspired. This is part five of a multi-part series.
Sometimes, while growing in new attitudes and actions, it’s helpful to identify what is not included. For example, while we are growing in patience, it’s helpful to identify moments of impatience and what feeds such impatience.
The same is with longing to know and make known God’s astonishing grace. We want to grow in and cultivate a deeper longing. So far, we have looked at positive examples of such longing. Let’s consider a negative example, something that does not exemplify such a longing.
In Romans 1, Paul begins to build his case that every single human being is justly deserving God’s wrath because all have sinned. He says, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness” (v. 18). He then explains that people are without excuse, “for what can be known about God is plain to them” in creation (v. 19). Paul’s great indictment is stated in verse 21: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking.”
The lack of gratitude is the opposite of longing to know and make known God’s grace. Paul is saying that people, who do not have faith in Christ, still have some knowledge of God as the all-powerful sustainer of the world. These people, because of their sin, resist this truth and become hardened in ingratitude. They do not want to know God. They do not want to thank God. They do not want to honor God. They do not want to depend on God or his grace.
Ingratitude is the anti-longing for God’s grace.
The Greek word for giving thanks is eucharisteo. At the root of the word is the Greek word for grace, charis. Giving thanks is the proper and normal response to grace. Grace is undeserved favor and kindness. Gratitude is a form of longing to know and make known God’s astonishing grace.
Is your longing for God’s grace marked by gratitude?