The Error Of Ingratitude

Because I am the kind of person who has a propensity to think negatively, the Lord has had to teach me—and is still teaching me—to be thankful. He has used my precious husband, the one who knows me better than anyone else, to help me see the error of my ingratitude and encourage me toward a thankful heart.

Recently Melanie, our daughter-in-law, was talking to a young mommy who had several little children. The mommy shared with Melanie that she was discouraged, unhappy, and struggling with her children’s behavior. As the mommy was discussing her problems, Melanie, without first-hand experience as a mother of many young children, didn’t feel qualified to encourage her. She could sympathize in one area, though. The mommy told Melanie she had just experienced a miscarriage over the weekend. In March Melanie lost her first baby, who lived only three days.

Later we found out that Melanie’s conversation with the mommy was the vehicle the Lord used to encourage her heart and change her focus. She said when Melanie told the story of her baby’s birth and death, she realized that she had four healthy children for whom to be thankful. Then she said to herself, “What do you have to be discouraged and unhappy about?” With that, she went to work, with a grateful heart to the Lord, addressing the problems she was having with her children.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings” is what Philippians 2:14 tells us. Often when I am ungrateful, I am murmuring about something. Then I am being disobedient on two sides—murmuring and not being thankful. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I am amazed at how we moms will become discouraged by our children’s lack of obedience, and yet not recognize in ourselves our bent toward disobedience to the Lord Jesus. If we don’t obey the Lord in something as simple as being thankful, how can we expect obedience from our children?

When I go to bed at night exhausted from the day’s work, I can think two types of thoughts. If I am focusing on my workload, being tired, children’s training issues, and how unhappy all that makes me feel, then I am murmuring and being ungrateful. However, if I fall asleep thanking the Lord Jesus for my warm bed, the children He has given me, the husband who provides for us, and the home we live in, then I am choosing the path of obedience.

I can tell you from personal experience that those negative thoughts lead to unhappiness and depression. They do not accomplish anything positive but rather keep me in a state of turmoil and unrest. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” If a child has been having a bad attitude, I am to pray about it with a thankful heart for that child and for the opportunities the Lord Jesus gives me every day to help him learn godly responses. The result of being thankful? A peaceful heart!

Our neighbor has a little dog named Pepper who is the embodiment of gratitude. She is grateful for any kind word or friendly pat a passerby has to offer and lets the person know by furiously wagging her tail as she races up and down the fence. Because of the way Pepper visibly expresses her gratitude, those who walk by Pepper’s yard often stop to visit with her. That is the kind of thankful heart I want to have—one that is so obvious that it makes my family want to be around me.

I recently glanced through the Samaritan’s Purse’s Christmas catalog detailing the areas of giving that are available and needed in impoverished third-world nations. How ungrateful I am if I complain about anything in my life when I am blessed with plenty of food, a safe house, clothing, medical care, and freedom to worship. I expect women in those countries would be aghast if they knew what we murmured about and were ungrateful for.

When I serve my children a meal, I want them to be thankful for what they have to eat, even if it isn’t their favorite. However, I am their example. Have I been grateful in the daily situations in which they observe me? Am I quick to express unhappiness or thankfulness? I can’t expect a higher level of gratitude from them than I have myself.

I desire to have thankfulness flow from my heart as my first response. I don’t want for Steve to have to remind me that I am not thankful, although I certainly need him to when I have failed. I believe the starting point is choosing to have my mind dwelling on that for which I am grateful. I also need to recognize and confess my murmuring and ingratitude as sin rather than excusing or justifying it. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I want to challenge you to observe yourself—thoughts and words. Are you a grateful wife? Do you think thankful thoughts about your husband, and then do you express them to him? Even if your husband isn’t saved, there will be things for which you can be grateful. Are you a grateful mom? Do you think thankful thoughts about your children, and then do you express those thoughts to them? Finally, are you a grateful Christian? Do you think thankful thoughts about your Savior, and then do you express them to Him? How much a smile and thankful words do not only for my heart but also for those around me. May we be women who choose to be grateful.

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 5

This Dad’s Corner I expect to be the last in the series on sharing our faith with others. A good introduction to this article is an e-mail we received from a mom because I believe many will relate to her thoughts on the series. A fitting conclusion would be some pretty amazing statistics that Christopher, my twenty-eight-year-old son, wrote down that further highlight how critical this topic is.


“Some months I take a few extra minutes to read the Dad’s Corner as well as the Mom’s Corner. This month was one of them. Just last night on the way to church, I was explaining to my children, ages 8, 6, 4, and 2, what our purpose in life was. I told them our purpose in life was not to have fun playing or doing chores or schoolwork or anything else. Our purpose is to tell people about Christ and how to get to Heaven. I pointed to the person in the car next to us and asked them, ‘What if that man right there is going to go to hell when he dies?’

“I explained to them that since we knew the way to Heaven, we needed to make sure we told others because if we didn’t tell them, they might never know that Jesus died for them and will forgive their sins if they only would ask Him. (At this point in time only my eight-year-old has gotten saved, but I thought they all should be taught to tell others about Christ’s love.)

“After all my talking and explaining to them what our purpose in life was, my six-year-old son looked at me very confused and replied, ‘Why don’t we then?’ Of course it hit directly to my heart. Very sadly I had to confess to him, ‘I don’t know.’ When we got to church, the message that God sent to my heart was about ‘our purpose in life’ and that we are to be telling others about Him. And today I read the Dad’s Corner which talked of the very same thing. I have purposed in my heart, as of today, to start telling people about Christ for their sake, and for the sake of my children, so that they have an example to live by and hopefully not have to struggle with this issue as they grow into adults.

“Thanks for taking the time each month to encourage people like me.” (Used by permission.)

Statistics and Thoughts from Christopher

When I was twenty-six years old, the Lord began burdening my heart to share the gospel. I was convicted over my unfaithfulness of not being an outspoken witness in the years prior. As I began to speak with the lost, I was overwhelmed to see the Holy Spirit working in hearts and lives.

For some reason, which I couldn’t explain at the time, I felt His leading to keep track of the number of people with which I was able to share. After a period of time, I felt led to stop keeping track. I realized that a month had transpired.

The results?

December 10 through January 10:

Total tracts given out: 155
Number of individual people who received tract(s): 101
Number of people who rejected a tract: 4
Sharing on the telephone: 18 (telemarketers, customer service calls, etc.)
Number who were closed/cold: 1
Number I was able to share the gospel with: 11
Number who were already saved: 6
Strangers who in one form or another heard the gospel: 112

It wasn’t until several months later that I realized the significance of those numbers. Those numbers represented one month of my life as I sought to share with the lost. But one hundred months had transpired from the time I was eighteen until that particular month; one hundred months during which I was not as faithful of a witness as I should have been.

What would happen if I were to multiply the numbers in that one month by one hundred—with the resulting figures representing the prior years of unfaithfulness?

Age 18 through 26: (years of unfaithfulness)

Tracts NOT given out: 15,500
Individual people who didn’t receive a tract: 10,100
Number of missed rejections: 400
Missed telephone witnessing: 1,800
Number missed who were closed/cold: 100
Number missed sharing the Gospel with: 1,100
Number missed who were already saved: 600
Potential number of strangers whom I DIDN’T share with: 11,200

Those numbers could have been a bit higher or lower, but they are still staggering! The numbers represent just one person’s efforts (or lack of efforts) over the course of eight years. While I cannot go back and change those years, I can seek to obey on a day-by-day basis as the Lord Jesus continues to give me breath.

I wonder what numbers you might be amassing? Are they numbers of faithfully sharing with the lost? Or are they numbers of disobedience by keeping quiet?

As a father, besides considering your personal impact on others, what about the impact of your children? If they do not see you sharing the gospel with the lost, do you think they will become faithful witnesses?

Instead of one person being responsible for 11,200 souls not hearing the gospel, might a father, through the lives of his children, be responsible for hundreds of thousands of souls? The math is simple and straightforward. The result is either heartbreakingly sad or incredibly exciting—depending upon whether the numbers represent good or bad.

When reading an article it is sometimes tempting to skip over the Bible verses that are shared, especially if one recognizes the Scripture reference. May each of us take a moment and carefully read these next two verses, remembering that God is the One talking!

Ezekiel 3:18-19: “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

Warning the wicked equals active evangelism. Notice that the warning was a spoken warning. Yes, Ezekiel was supposed to live a holy life. That goes without saying and is the basis for one being able to speak credibly with the lost. He wasn’t to silently live his life and wait for the wicked to ask him questions about his lifestyle! Ezekiel was to open his mouth and proactively warn the lost.

How does God measure my success or failure in evangelism? I believe it is by whether or not I open my mouth and share with others. Success equals sharing, while failure equals keeping quiet. As God told Ezekiel: the listener is responsible, before God, for his decision. I am responsible for warning him.



As we wind up this series on the importance of sharing our faith with others, I want to encourage you to make sharing Christ with the lost a priority in your personal life and in the discipleship of your children. Do you have beautiful feet? Do your children have beautiful feet?

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

As a side note, we have been very blessed by The Soul Winner’s New Testament. They are a perfect size to put in your pocket and carry with you at all times. We normally carry one with us and often give it away while witnessing. The New Testaments are listed on our site.