I must confess there’s a bit of sleight of hand in this blog post’s title. It really isn’t about trying not to be thankful. It’s about making sure that our gratitude is not half-hearted, absent, or sporadic but rather is genuine, humble, and regular. These three qualities—sincerity, humility, and consistency—resonate like notes in sweet harmony in King David’s thank-you song to God in Psalm 138.
Real gratitude has a certain attitude. It’s deep and heartfelt. Have you ever heard someone say thank you, but you could tell by the tone of voice that the person was only half-grateful at best? It’s like a mom who has to remind her eight-year-old son, “Now what do you say to your sister since she cleaned your room for you on your birthday?” And the boy replies (more to his mom than to his sister), “Thanks; I guess.”
So the first way not to be thankful to God is in a half-hearted, insincere way. Instead, be wholehearted in your gratitude. Say to the Lord (and mean it) as King David said, “I will give you thanks with all my heart” (Ps. 138:1).
Second, don’t be so prideful that you fail to say thanks. David talked about earthly kings who would pause to give thanks to God and would sing of the Lord’s great glory (Ps. 138:4-5). World leaders aren’t always known for their humility. Many earthly kings and queens see themselves as rightful and deserving owners of everything in their kingdoms, not as those who are humbly grateful to God for their rich blessings. To be honest, all of us can struggle with selfish pride at times—pride that keeps us from being thankful for our blessings. David, who was a king himself, reminded us that the exalted Lord “takes note of the humble; but he knows the haughty from a distance” (Ps. 138:6).
Third, don’t forget to keep on being grateful all your life. We could never say thank you to God too much, too often, or too long. This is because His love for us is constant (Ps. 138:2). It’s always there, and it never stops. He loves us when we’re in “the thick of danger” (Ps. 138:7). He will never abandon us, because His love is eternal (Ps. 138:8). For these reasons, we never outgrow the need to be genuinely thankful to God—for His amazing love, for His salvation in Jesus Christ, and for His abiding presence in the Holy Spirit. How will you be thankful to the Lord today?
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord, for giving to me thy great salvation so rich and free. — Seth Sykes
David Briscoe is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.