There was a man in the mid 30’s during the harsh depression that hit the US and Canada. He was very hungry, unemployed, impoverished and homeless. He was walking along a railway track on a bright day and he said out loud: “Lord I am hungry and broke, please take care of my needs at this time.” He looked down and spotted a 50 cent piece on the ground. Filled with joy and gratitude he picked it up and started to think about the fine meal he could have with this 50 cent piece.
As he walked towards town he came across a trestle which he had to cross. Half way across he accidentally dropped the 50 cent piece. He reached out for it in desperation but it slipped through the rail ties and started to drop to the river below. He watched as it turned and glistened in the sun and eventually slipped into the rushing waters of the river to disappear forever. He slowly got up on his feet and said: “Lord, I thank you that I still have my appetite.”
Although this is a story of fiction, it reflects an attitude we do not see a lot of today. Are we really grateful for all the things we have? Not the things we want but the things we have? Today we live in an ungrateful age. Yet, let’s look at the admonishment in Hebrews 13:5: “… be content with such things as you have.” At the beginning of the verse we are admonished to be without covetousness. Paul also admonishes us in Philippians 4:11, stating, he learned to be content with whatever state he was in. We have to learn to do the same. It is sometimes difficult to have such an attitude, when we go through trials, tests, sickness and the stress associated with living in this age. Remember, it is he who endures to the end who will be saved. So we must not only persevere but be content at the same time.
Someone who is content with what he has would by extension be grateful for what he has.
Look at Paul’s opening statements in Colossians 1:3, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…” Paul’s statement expresses gratitude to God and Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2, we read: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers…” another expression of thanks and gratitude to God.
Are we really thankful? You might ask, for what?
For the precious knowledge we have. For the truth of God’s Word and the understanding He gives us through His Holy Spirit.
We have a lot to be thankful for as God’s children and family. We should not only learn to be content with the things that we have, but be grateful, giving thanks to God for all the things He gives us.
A man’s life doesn’t consist of the things he possesses. It is not the person who accumulates the most toys that wins, but he who does the will of the Father. We know His will and we should be content with the precious truths we have; and give thanks to God in a sincere spirit of gratitude for all He does for us now and for the opportunity in the future to serve mankind as His sons and daughters.