By W. E. Monk
Editor’s note—The following article by W. E. Monk was published in The Gospel Trumpet in February 1919. The first World War had come to an end only a few months earlier.
It has not been so very long since, when in almost every prayer that was uttered, God was besought to bring the war to a close; in fact, special meetings were called in many communities for the purpose of beseeching God to bring to an end the awful carnage.
Since the war is over, has our thanksgiving been in proportion to our petition before it closed? As a rule, when one does us a good turn or is kind to us, we are willing to go out of our way, if necessary, to do something in return. None of us like to be thought ungrateful, but how about our attitude toward God, our Father, who loves us, who preserves us from harm, danger, accident, illness, and even loss of life?
Who has not heard expressions like this, “I don’t seem to have the joys that I had when I was first saved”? I have wondered whether the difference might be due to the fact that when we were first saved, much of our time was spent in praising God, and we were so thankful for what he had done for us that the very act of praising God brought the joy to our souls, while now some of us spend little or no time in praise and thanksgiving.
Let us look at just a few facts in our everyday life. If my heart were to stop beating for but a few seconds, I should drop lifeless. Who am I that this should not happen? I see an ambulance coming; some poor person is being hurried to the nearest hospital. He has met with some accident. Who has preserved me? I see people all around me suffering with disease and infirmities of various kinds. Who has given me health? We, all of us, even the poorest, enjoy some of God’s gifts. Who are we that God should not take them away from us and give them to someone else, perhaps more deserving than we?
God is ceaselessly pouring upon our lives from his open and yearning heart stimulus, opportunity, and cheer. And we only occasionally allow the life that he has given to go back to him in communion and thanksgiving. On all sides we can see so much that is good accomplishing so little because it does not go up alive to God—repentance that sticks fast in the mire, strength that beats the air or builds on sand, sacrifices that are mainly loss, faith that sings no song. And for this great sad fact of wasted goodness and exhausting effort there is but one sufficient explanation—the absence or lack of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is not a spiritual possibility. “Be ye thankful” is not uttered to mock us. Thankfulness is a spiritual blessing. How rich are they who are thankful! Ingratitude is impoverishment. Thankfulness glorifies God. Thankfulness is great spiritual force. What a check upon gloom is gratitude! Thankfulness, as it destroys the base elements of our nature, develops the higher. Saints of God, join the writer in resolving to spend more time this year before our Maker in thanksgiving, and this will be a year of victory and power.
This article was originally published in the February 20, 1919, issue of The Gospel Trumpet. Republished by permission. Across the United States and around the world, God is on the move in the Church of God. Join the movement. Give life! Donate today at give.jesusisthesubject.org.