Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greed is the Enemy of Gratitude

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." - James 1:16-17 (ESV)

Every good and perfect gift is from above. This statement is a reminder of the source of every blessing we have. There is no such thing as something that you have earned or attained for yourself. There are many who work hard, do the right things, and strive to succeed, who do not experience the desired outcome. We should be reminded that "every," not some, of the blessings we have received come from God. This should be cause for gratitude to well up within us as we think about every thing in our lives worth giving thanks for:

* our family
* our home/residence
* the meals we eat
* the air we breath
* the electric bill (because we have air-conditioning)
* our vehicle(s)
* our children
* your job
* the computer you are reading this on
* our health

This list could go on and on; in fact, you should attempt to continue the list for the purpose of seeing just how blessed you are. We have every reason to be people of gratitude as we think about our many blessings. 

The enemy of gratitude is greed. Greed is not just an attitude that says, "I want, I want," but it is an attitude that thinks, "I deserve, I deserve." Greed is the sinful trait in us that wars against gratitude. Instead of being thankful for every blessing we have been given, we feel like we deserve everything, and more. Greed moves us to take for ourselves. Greed says, "take for yourself; get what you deserve; put your own needs first." If we understand that God is the giver of every perfect gift and blessing we have, then it should produce gratitude, which ultimately produces generosity. If we are not people of generosity then we have a problem with gratitude. If we have a problem with gratitude then we can be assured we are battling greed. 

It looks a little something like this:

Your Life - Gratitude = Greed

Your Life + Gratitude = Generosity

Gratitude is the key. If we are people of gratitude we will soon become people of generosity. If we are not people of gratitude we will find ourselves struggling with greed. If you want to help boost your level of gratitude, continue to reflect on James 1:16-17. Take Scripture's advice: do not be deceived, God is the giver of everything you and I have, and for this, we should be eternally grateful. 

Take time today to reflect on the many things you have to be grateful for, and recognize that God is the Author of the blessing. What is your biggest struggle with gratitude vs greed? Does your level of generosity demonstrate your gratitude accurately or does it demonstrate your greed?

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