Frank Crowninshield related a time when Clarence Darrow spoke to a woman’s club on the civilization of ancient Phoenicians. He finished his lecture, and the chairlady said, “Oh, how can we thank Mr. Darrow for the fascinating lecture he has given us tonight?” Darrow returned to the podium and made one final observation: “I entirely forgot to tell you that it was the Phoenicians who first invented money.”
Darrow wanted to be properly “appreciated.” To him, that meant money. Today, in a world where the thank you note is getting to be like an ancient manuscript, where “common courtesy” is scarce, and “manners” are to too many a mystery, there is a great opportunity for a revolution and a revival. Our society is primed for thorough thankfulness. It is due employers, teachers, law enforcement, neighbors, friends, family (both physical and spiritual), waitresses, cashiers, and even strangers. But, most of all, it is due Almighty God!
It should be so natural to join in with David and ask, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” (Ps. 116:12). He answers both in this Psalm (“I will call upon Him and pay my vows to Him”-13-14) and in Psalm 103:2 (“Bless the Lord” and “forget not”). This gratitude will show itself in our giving, but it will also show itself in our living. By developing a spirit inclined to find blessings and express gratitude, we will draw people to the Lord. We will also improve every conversation, activity, and relationship in which we find ourselves.
New Testament writers repeatedly urge thankfulness and show it themselves (cf. Rom. 7:25; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 9:15; Eph. 5:4; Col. 3:15; etc.). New Testament Christians ought to be characterized by it, too. Sure, there will always be plenty about which to be depressed and discouraged-taxes, health, betrayal, disappointments, sorrows and losses. But, even in these things blessings and benefit can be found. The old adage, “Have an attitude of gratitude,” is the need of the hour. If you are wanting to shine like a light in a world of darkness (cf. Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:9), a grateful spirit will do the trick.