What Thanks Does He Get?

Do you know what is more hard to bear than the reverses of fortune? It is the baseness, the hideous ingratitude, of man. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Ingratitude. Is there anything worse in us as human beings? I’m convinced it is one of the most revealing outward qualities of the content of someone’s heart. An ungrateful person is poisonous. Toxic to relationships, environments, marriages, families and communities. They shade and color everything with their greed, entitlement and selfishness.

It is scary that we have this in us. That ingratitude lives in our flesh and we are capable of demeaning and injuring people with a spirit of thanklessness and prerogative. In fact, it seems like the more that is done for an ingrate, the worse they become. They gain alternate energy from kindness, graciousness and benevolence. If you give them more, it’s not enough. If you give them less, you’re a tyrannical scumbag with an unfair death grip on the bounty owed to them at birth.

This is not a new revelation. After 400+ years of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were released from bondage by God’s hand. As they exited, they were blessed with cattle, food, gold, supplies and riches. God then performed many miracles in their midst as they journeyed through the treacherous wilderness. He covenanted with them, selected them as His people and said He would take them to the promised land. Pretty amazing, right? Not for the Israelites apparently.

They were so ungrateful that they wanted to go back to Egypt. Not only did they not appreciate the blessings, provision and powerful miracles that God did for them, they wanted to return to the place where they had experienced hundreds of years of oppression and atrocity. Their ingratitude had made them completely unreasonable. That’s what an ungrateful heart does. It makes normally logical people do irrational, erratic things.

Risking overemphasis, I recently observed the most profound case of ingratitude that I’ve ever experienced. It was unjust, hurtful and the sting of it resonates. But it’s at times like these that I’m reminded of my own capacity to be an Israelite if I don’t allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide my thoughts, control my mind and check my motives. In my flesh, I am capable of being an ingrate and acting in an irrational manner that holds ramifications for myself and everyone around me.

Paul warned us in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 that this would be a battle for all of us in this generation. He wrote, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be LOVERS OF SELF, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, ABUSIVE, disobedient to their parents, UNGRATEFUL, unholy, heartless, UNAPPEASABLE, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, SWOLLEN WITH CONCEIT, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (ESV)

Let’s live with grateful hearts for what God’s done in our lives so we don’t sin against others, act irrationally and taint everything we come in contact with. A life in Christ leaves no room for this behavior. We can do better.


©2013 Jason Autry.  Originally posted Feb 6, 2013 at jasonautry.com.