2 > 4
Unless you are completely mathematically challenged, the above equation ought to bother you. After all, even second graders know that the number 4 is greater than the number 2. So let me readily admit that it’s merely a cute way for me to share a profoundly simple principle about giving thanks.
When it comes to thankfulness, we tend to err in two ways:
First, and more obviously, we simply are not as thankful as we need to be. Call it what you want—entitlement, me first syndrome, downright selfishness, or whatever—but it just seems that our generation suffers from an ingratitude pandemic.
You might be the exception to the gratitude disease. In fact, many of the people I know and interact with are a wonderful example of what it means to be thankful.
But sometimes we are guilty of a more subtle error—the error of giving thanks for, without giving thanks to. I think most of us are aware that the Bible emphasizes our responsibility to give thanks for all things, and that we are to give that thanks to God. Do a quick search on your own. You’ll find that the Bible emphasizes thanks to God way more than it does thanks for stuff. Don’t take my word for it. Check it out.
“Giving thanks” sometimes means little more than, “I’m really glad for what I have.” Or, “I’m really happy for what’s going on in my life.” We give thanks for our health, family, jobs, and freedoms. The focus is all about for, sometimes without even a passing thought about to (as in, to whom the thanks belongs).
It’s as if we write beautifully crafted thank-you cards but forget to address them to God! Without the “Dear God,” the very purpose for giving thanks becomes thwarted. Do you see the point?
Giving thanks to God is much more valuable than giving thanks for what He does. To is greater than for.