“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:15
Recently my boys and I were in the car on our way to an end of the season baseball celebration. Ironically, said baseball player didn’t want to go to the party. Somewhere between getting home from running errands and leaving for the party, his whole attitude and demeanor changed. Although this party was for him and his teammates, he was all but forced into the car.
Unfortunately, grace did not take over in this instance. Instead, anger began to boil under my skin and started spewing from my mouth. It’s my fault. As a parent who loves my children, I do want to give them the world. I want to carve out opportunities for them to grow into successful, loving, responsible adults, starting with playing on a baseball team. What I can’t understand is how anyone, much less a child, wouldn’t want to go to a pizza party with all of their friends. (My suspicion is that he didn’t have enough time to play the new video game he had just received for his birthday.)
So I went off on him. Words like “entitlement, ungrateful and spoiled” were rolling off my tongue faster than my wheels were peeling out of the driveway or my mind was thinking. I often speak first, regret later.
As the conversation cooled off and continued with my younger son (because my baseball player had already tuned me out), he grappled with the definition of gratitude. I tried to explain the best I could to my 8 year old about being thankful for what you have. “Gratitude means having a grateful attitude. It’s hard to be grumpy or unhappy when you are grateful!” I’m hoping that somewhere in the way back of the van my 10 year old was eavesdropping on the conversation.
Don’t we often carry that same attitude? Forgetting all that God has blessed us with and complain about the things we don’t have or the things we didn’t get to do. Just as the Israelites God had freed from slavery and delivered from the Egyptian army grumbled in the desert, don’t we do the same? Instead of remembering what God has done in the past or the Promised Land ahead, we gripe and moan. We complain about things not going our way, it was better in the past, if only we had that new job or that new house. If only we could stay home instead of going to the party.
God has so much more in store for us than we could ever dream. He has the biggest party planned for us! He doesn’t want us to settle for a boring video game. Our amazing God wants to carve out opportunities for His children to grow into successful, loving, responsible adults who bear His image. Thankfully, He doesn’t go off on us when we fail. Grace flows along with His blood that covers us. He picks us up, hugs us and carries us on. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! It’s all about His amazing grace to us “ungrateful, spoiled, entitled” children.
Doesn’t that just make you want to fall to your knees and say “THANK YOU?”