The decline of godliness has brought a decline of thankfulness in our nation. Clinical melancholy & depression have risen with prosperity…proving money does not buy happiness. Many people are feeling like their lives are purposeless. The Word warns us about being ungrateful to God.(A) This post is calling us back to the Biblical standard to be grateful people and to give thanks in all things. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God;”(B) We enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving.(C) Research has discovered that having hope & being forgiving increases our happiness. As people have tossed aside Biblical principles to absorb Darwinianism, Biblical ideas like forgiveness & hope seem antiquated.
TODAY’S THANKLESSNESS BASED ON VIEWS OF THE PAST & FUTURE . Many people feel deprived, but their thinking behind it is often based upon faulty perspectives, & warped expectations. Surveys often find the majority of modern Americans thinking that their ancestors had it better. But did they?? Another factor, is not only do many mistakenly think the past was better, they are unable to be thankful today because they have collapse anxiety about the future. Undoubtedly, the world’s financial system is a house of cards that could crumble at any moment, but this house of cards has refused to totally collapse in spite of informed people thinking it could happen any moment since 1977. People who say they are chronically depressed are ten times more abundant than when I was a boy; so are things ten times worse?
WHERE WERE WE IN THE PAST. When I visited Europe in 1971, the toilet paper was rough & there were few rooms per person. In hotels, the rooms of a hotel floor would share a common bathroom. Even today, Europe has less rooms per person than the USA, which has over two rooms per person, quite an advance since my grandfather’s day. The typical teenager in the USA has his or her own room. I lived in Hawaii in 1965, & air conditioning was rare in houses…now it is essentially in all the houses. I lived in Kansas in the 70’s, & like Hawaii, many of the homes were not air conditioned. I remember opening the windows at night to get a breeze in the summer heat. Now air conditioning is widespread. The point is that we have much more comfort… more room & better temperature control than when I was young.
When my grandfather was born, people were living forty-some years…and now the life expectancy is way beyond that. Since my grandfather’s day, women now have equality (although they don’t always acknowledge that), minorities don’t face the harsh institutionalized discrimination that kept them down, and home ownership is widespread v. few people owned their own homes. Today, any normal question can be answered quickly by the Internet, and global communication allows us to Skype across the globe for free. Americans spend large sums on recreational watercraft, more than the entire economy of some nations. To this they add custom-painted snowmobiles with GPS, SUVs and many other recreational toys. In Europe & America, the environment was horrible in the 70’s, for instance, the rivers ran black in Germany. There has been great progress in sustainability and environmental protection, and things like solar energy. Pollution is getting better. In Sept. ’82, an inner city part of Kansas City (the area around the former St. Joseph Hospital located at Linwood Boulevard & Prospect Ave.) was used for the film The Day After (1983) to depict a city hit by a nuclear blast. Now the neighborhood is rebuilt & beautiful.
DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN THE RICH & THE AVERAGE HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED. In 1870, the average life span of the spoiled, insufferable British upper class was 17 yrs. longer than the average Englishperson and the upperclass was also 5” taller than the average Englishperson. Now the life expectancy and heights are the same. Today, the average person has access to basically all the same things that the rich & famous do, except the “pizza” privileges of the rich pedophile class (which is something that the average person can or should do without anyway). The average person in Europe & America has plenty of free time for whatever they want to do…a big change from the sweatshops of the 1800’s and the long hours of toil by farmers.
STATISTICS & the GOOD & BAD. There are many stats on education & health, etc. that make things look worse. The problem is that statistics can be worked to prove about anything…and I see that happening to make us think things are better by the govt., or things are worse by the doomsayers. My point is that most people are usually unaware how a particular stat may not be representative of what is really going on. This is why I used personal observations from my own life, such as advancement of the widespread employment of home air conditioning…when I can remember the past scarcity of it. Today, we consider the cell phone essential…back then it was only a sci-fi concept . The ability to look up directions on map quest…or to ask one’s smart phone for directions is such a wonderful advancement for everyone…and yet this advancement and countless others are forgotten in our haste to complain & grumble. I have lived like the 19th century when I was Amish. I have lived in third world nations of poverty. We in America have much to be thankful for. Even our poor are relatively better off than many in the more stressed regions of the world. But overall one would not think much progress had been made to listen to the average America grumbling. This grumbling is seriously hurting our relationship with our heavenly Father. In fact, part of the grumbling is the result (not just the cause) of poor relations with the Creator. Oh such a lack of faith & appreciation.
FINAL THOUGHTS. In spite of being basically unemployed & homeless, I know I feel eternally grateful for all that I have. Happiness does not come from being wealthy. How can I ever consider myself poor with all my wonderful brothers & sisters in Christ, as well as my loving Lord & God, who has promised to provide for all my necessities?? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”(D) “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (E) May we recognize all our blessings my friend, & may you have a good one.
(A) ROM 1:21, other Hebrew & Greek scriptures teach this also (B) PHIL 4:6 (C) PS 95:2, cf. PS 100:4 (D) PS 103:2 (E) PHIL 4:19