Though we know that passages in the Old Testament addressed to Israel were not written to us, Paul said that they are still for us. What happened to them is recorded for us as an example “that we might not desire evil as they did” (see 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).
Let’s learn from one of those Old Testament passages, Deuteronomy 28. The entire chapter describes blessings on those who are faithful and curses on those who won’t obey the voice of the Lord. In the section describing disobedience the Lord addresses the cause of their upcoming devastation.
Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. (Deuteronomy 28:47–48)
Though they had been given affluence, “the abundance of all things,” they did not abound in thanksgiving. Finding reasons for gratitude required no great exercise of imagination. They only needed to taste the bumper blessings and see that the Lord was good. But they refused. All the gifts that they received without gratitude would soon be repossessed.
We lose what matters most when we won’t be thankful. Instead, we were made to receive from Him and so we “offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14).
Sunday in worship, and Thursday in mashing potatoes, waiting for late guests, wondering why you believe believe in the Lord but your extended family doesn’t, and in a thousand other moments of effort, serve the Lord in gratitude. Though sin tells you that your list for thanks is too small, the real challenge comes when you see that your paper is too small for the list.