Are you a grateful person? Some years ago, a well-meaning customer of the famed Neiman Marcus Department Store felt prompted to send Stanley Marcus this letter:
Some people are just impossible to please. A large dog walks into a butcher shop carrying a
purse in its mouth. He puts the purse down and sits in front of the meat case. “What is it,
boy?” the butcher jokingly asks. “Want to buy some meat?” “Woof!” barks the dog. “Hmm,”
says the butcher. “What kind? Liver, bacon, steak . . .” “Woof!” interrupts the dog. “And how
much steak? Half a pound, one pound . . .” “Woof!” The amazed butcher wraps up the meat
and finds the money in the dog’s purse. As the dog leaves, he decides to follow. The dog enters
an apartment house, climbs to the third floor, and begins scratching at a door. With that, the
door swings open, and an angry man starts shouting at the dog. “Stop!” yells the butcher. “He’s
the most intelligent animal I’ve ever seen!” “Intelligent?” says the man. “This is the third time
this week he’s forgotten his key.”
Does God consider gratitude something all of us should grasp?
2 Timothy 3:2-5
2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to
Three without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
Four treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–
Five have a form of godliness but deny its power. Have nothing to do with them.
20 For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood
by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without
21 because, 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.
THANKS or NO THANKS?
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and
said, “If only we had meat to eat!
5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost– also the cucumbers, melons, leeks,
onions and garlic.
6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
God was giving them daily portions of the food of Angels, enough for everyone in their family
AT NO COST!
7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin.
8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a
mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with
9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
How versatile was manna! It could be a ground-like meal, cooked in a pot, made into cakes! You
could have as much as you needed; no one went hungry. It was the ultimate protein bar,
containing 100% of the Daily Nutritional requirements for life in the wilderness! Or anywhere,
on earth or in Heaven!
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat; he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
But they “lost their appetite”! Tables are laden down with food, provided AT NO COST, and they
lost their appetite! They had filet of manna, manna-cotti, manna burgers, and ba-manna nut
bread, and still lost their appetite! Why? Not because the taste had become tiresome, but
because they were ungrateful. Ingratitude! All they needed but not what they wanted – leeks,
onions, garlic, fish – all the stuff that leads to bellyaches and bad breath! No “Thanks” in their
lives! They were not complaining about their DIET but about what God was DOING! What You
are doing for us, God, is not enough!
NO THANKS, GOD!
In a sense, gratitude is an expression of DEPENDENCY. In Hebrew, the word for gratitude –
hoda’ah – is the same as the word for confession. To offer thanks is to confess dependence, to
admit that your life is better because of another’s efforts. These people were rejecting God
when they rejected and complained about His gift!
21 When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his
wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat. He gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
The NO THANKS of the people even caused Moses to say, “NO THANKS”:
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD
became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done
to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?
12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in
my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers?
13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ’Give us meat to eat!’
14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.
15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now– if I have found favor in
your eyes– and do not let me face my own ruin.”
How does God deal with ungrateful people? He is KIND!
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get
anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest, because
he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Why? To lead them to REPENT!
4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing
that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
18 “Tell the people: ’Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat
meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in
Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it.
19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days,
20 but for a whole month– until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it– because you
have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we
ever leave Egypt?” ’”
God says, “My manna’s not good enough for you? You are craving meat! I’ll give you meat!”
31 Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down
all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any
32 All that day and night and all the next day, the people went out and gathered quail. No one
gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. (NIV)
God let loose (Psalm 78: 26) the east wind, and it didn’t rain cats and dogs; it rained quail and
quail! And more quail! Right within arms reach and everywhere around them. They didn’t have
to hunt them! The quail did not hide or fly away. Every man, woman, boy, and girl, who
wanted meat with their manna could gather all they wanted. Just knock them in the head, and
throw as many as you could in your sack! And they did! Everyone who wished to meat gathered
no less than 65 bushels!!!!
Be careful what you ask God for, for you might get it in abundance!
33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger
of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.
34 Therefore, the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people
who had craved other food.
Somewhere in the wilderness between the two branches of the Red Sea lie the graves of the
ungrateful. These folk who said “NO THANKS” to the provision of God found their just desserts
in the desert!
You and I may, too, if we fail to be grateful.
So I ask you, “THANKS” or “NO THANKS”?
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called
to peace. And be thankful.