As the family took our seats for the annual Thanksgiving meal yesterday, I read to them from the Bible and pointed out the seriousness of ingratitude toward God.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness”, I started from Romans 1:18. Continuing to verse 21, I emphasized that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.”
As the passage in Romans asserts, the existence and benevolence of God are self-evident. A life of ingratitude, then, reveals an idolatry of self-obsession. No person on earth is ever ‘self-made’. Our very life and breath is birthed from parents and ancestors. Our health is nourished by a complex system of natural resources (and made available by an efficient market). Our education and skills are passed on from teachers and a tradition of knowledge. Our possessions are manufactured by producers and so on and so on.
If thanklessness is a social vice, how much more grievous is it toward God! All of life is ultimately a gift and a grace. We depend on others and certainly on God. For this reason, our vocabulary must always include a ‘thank you’. Otherwise, we deserve the sentence of ingratitude reserved for all who suppress the truth of our existence from – and in – God.