4. "The next quality to look for is thankfulness.... Thankfulness is not a response to one's environment, rather, an expression of the heart."
Just like cheerfulness, thankfulness is "an expression of the heart," and - as Michael Pearl puts it, speaking of a prospective wife - "a change of environment and relationships is not going to make her thankful." Broadly stated, what we are before marriage, we will be after marriage. Yes, we can change; we are always changing, always learning. But if we have an ungrateful spirit before marriage, we cannot expect a miraculous, instantaneous metamorphosis to take place upon our wedding day, transforming us into thankful women.
In his book, The Power of True Success, Bill Gothard states, "An ungrateful spirit is a rebuke to those who are providing for you and a complaint against God."
First of all, we are commanded, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). Our thanks is due, first and foremost, to our Lord. Bill Gothard emphasizes that "[t]rue gratefulness springs from an awareness of our total unworthiness and inadequacy before a holy and just God." Anything the Lord chooses to give us is an immense blessing; our thanks should be poured freely and humbly at His feet.
Thanking the Lord for what we see as "good" is easy. Thanking Him for trials and hard times, adversities and calamities, is another matter. However, we are commanded to give thanks "in every thing"! We are instructed to "count it all joy when [we] fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2); God says we will be blessed when men "revile" and "persecute" us (Matthew 5:11). We must remember that God has a plan, that He knows what is best. God can use these difficult times to draw us closer to Himself, conforming us more fully into His image.
Besides her Lord, the most important person for a woman to express thankfulness to is her husband. It is he who has chosen her above all others to be his special helpmeet, to help him be successful in his life mission. It is he who works long days to support her, putting food on the table and providing for her needs.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Consider what an encouragement it would be to a husband for his wife to praise him, to thank him for the sacrifices he makes everyday for her!
Phillips Brooks, American clergyman and author, once said, "To say 'well done' to any bit of good work is to take hold of the powers which have made the effort and strengthen them beyond our knowledge." We have at our fingertips the power to either rebuke and discourage others through our ungrateful spirit, or to encourage others to pursue higher and nobler things by simply being thankful.
With a lightning flush, a word,
Bearing endless desolation
On its blighting wings, I heard;
Earth can forge no keener weapon,
Dealing surer death and pain;
And the cruel echo answered
Through long years again.
I have known one word hung starlike
O'er a dreary waste of years,
And it only shone the brighter
Looked at through a mist of tears,
While a weary wanderer gathered
Hope and heart on life's dark way
By its faithful promise shining
Clearer day by day."
Introduction * Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8 * Part 9 * Conclusion