Americans are blessed financially when compared to the rest of the world. According to the website mic.com, “someone at the poverty line in the United States is in the top 14% of the global income distribution.” But, if you are living at the poverty line, you probably don’t feel like you’re in the top 14% of anything. Despite the biblical commands to be content, we are likely to be malcontents concerning our financial lot in life.
Even when we have a lot, we tend to focus on the people that have more than we do and feel as if God has somehow not given us our fair share. But can ingratitude actually contribute to our poverty? I believe it can and I want to make the argument in this article that it does.
In the first chapter of Romans, Paul says this, “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,” – Romans 1:21-22 NKJV, emphasis added. When we are ungrateful for what God provides, it starts to affect our thinking. We fall more and more into rebellion against God.
When we fall victim to the sin of ingratitude, we reject the Holy Spirit’s influence over our lives. We are told in the epistle to the Thessalonians, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19 NKJV emphasis added. I’m sure some would argue that following God’s will in thankfulness and not quenching the Spirit are two separate, unrelated commands. I’m not so sure. I believe their placement following each other in scripture is not coincidental.
When we lust after the things of this world, we reject the Father’s care and suppress the Sprit’s influence over us. When we submit to the Spirit, he renews our thinking and implants the mind of Christ in us. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2 NKJV.
When we are thankful and content with God’s care for us, we don’t have to worry about having enough to eat or something to wear. God is pleased to provide for us. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV emphasis added. Don’t worry. Be happy, thankful, and prayerful for the things we need. Less anxiety means that we can make better money decisions.
So, to recap, here’s what ingratitude does to us. First, it produces what my friend Shelley Hitz calls, “stinkin’ thinkin’.” We can’t make good decisions when we’re ungrateful. Second, it limits the Holy Spirit’s power to affect our lives. The Spirit’s power is limitless, but ingratitude will quench his power in our own life. He doesn’t force himself on us. And finally, it robs us of peace and makes us stress about our circumstances. Unless we are grateful for the good that God gives, our prayers our weakened.
If we seek God’s blessing over our finances, we must develop an attitude of gratitude.
Would you like to watch a couple of great videos on this subject? Here are links to a couple of my favorites.