What I was trying to say yesterday, is that being content with what we have is good, but it does not measure up to being thankful. Certainly it is good to be content with what the Lord has given us, but so often, we fail by taking what we have for granted. We do it not only with things, but unfortunately we often do it with people. I am as guilty of taking my wife and children for granted, as I am of taking God for granted. I have become so content with the fact that God "shall supply all of thy need" (Phil. 4:19), that I fail to ask Him for "my daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). I am so confident in the "full armor of God" (Eph. 6:13-17), that I forget the next verse which says we are to pray and make supplication in the Spirit for the saints (Eph. 6:18). And, even clothed in the armor of God, we are still to pray that the path God has for us today, will not cross that of the evil one (Matt. 6:13).
Thanksgiving reminds us that all we have is a gift from Almighty God (Jam. 1:17). Being thankful for all that we have should produce contentment, but there is an aspect of thanksgiving which is greater than mere contentment. We should be thankful for what we don't have. I like what Solomon wrote: "Remove from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, 'Who is the LORD?' or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Prov. 30:8-9).
Isn't the very reason Christians need to be reminded to be thankful our lack of contentment, which fuels our endless desire for more? How often has a promotion produced pride? A new house, a new car, a child going to a prestigious school, and even being married for forty-eight years to the same spouse, are all sources of pride. We say, "I worked hard for that promotion." I have heard many a parent say that the youth of today think they should have all the things their parents have when they marry. They continue by saying, "We worked hard over the many years to achieve what they expect on day one." All the while, they are forgetting that God sustained them, gifted them with the ability, and protected them from experiencing the destruction similar to that experienced by Job. It is as though they are saying "we deserve what we have because we earned it." It is so easy to take the credit and ignore the Benefactor.
The truly thankful heart is one that is both grateful and content. All that we have for which to be thankful has been provided by God. There is great contentment in knowing that God has provided for you because He loves you. Discontentment, on the other hand, is evidence that one feels God has "let them down." Coveting and lusting after what we do not have is the direct result of our lack of gratitude. It is looking at the part of the glass that is empty, and thinking God doesn't love us enough to fill the glass. One of the great things about the manna in the wilderness was that it provided enough for only one day; what was left over was eaten by worms (Ex. 16:16-27). Thanksgiving should motivated by our confidence in the God Who gives us all that we need, but not necessarily all that we want. After all, a loving parent limits the candy his child can have. Therefore, let us be thankful for what we do not have; obviously God doesn't think we need it.