Grateful to Others

Posted on: October 2nd, 2011

We should be grateful to those who make personal sacrifices for our benefit. If you don’t think you have reason to be thankful to others, you’re mistaken. I can almost guarantee someone has made a sacrifice for your good.

There are times when we know the people and their deeds that help us, and times we don’t. Have you ever read about the Revolutionary War and the great sacrifice and courage of our Founding Fathers? George Washington, the general who brought a ragtag group of farmers and merchants together to defeat a seasoned army, then became our first President and held together a shaky Republic. None of us knew him, but as citizens of this country we enjoy the rewards of his efforts.

Surely we realize George Washington did not act alone. There is no telling how many individual acts of heroism remain unknown, but each one played a role in our freedom. We have had many wars and countless soldiers serve since the beginning of our country, all playing a part in our continued freedom. I am privileged to know some of our military men and women, and a few of their sacrifices. It is a debt we cannot repay, but we can and should be thankful to them.

Most children have parents who care for them and who have made untold and countless sacrifices. According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $226,920.00 dollars to raise a child from birth to high school graduation. While the financial costs are staggering, the greatest sacrifices are the emotional and time commitments made by parents. Children, with good parents, have a lot to be thankful for.

Some kids are at risk because they don’t have a father and mother who live up to their role. Easy divorce and out of wedlock births take a toll on children. Selfish parents seek their own wants and pleasures, often surrendering their children’s needs for their own fulfillment. Most disturbing is when parents actively led their kids into destructive life-styles, such as drugs and other crimes or sexual promiscuity. While no one can take the place of a parent, at risk children may find a teacher or other adult who cares for them. I know teachers often give up a lot for their students. The truth is, a child probably has many people who care about them.

None of us knew the apostles or early warriors of the church, but think about what they did for you and me. Under great threat of bodily harm and death, facing ridicule and scorn, they preached the gospel and recorded its message for our good. (2 Tim. 1:8-12) We have hope today because of their sacrifices. It is a debt none of us can repay. What we can do is live the life they lived, fight the battles they fought, and stand for the same principles they stood for. (2 Thess. 1:3-10) Let’s not make vain their efforts and sacrifice by compromising truth or abandoning the faith they fought so hard to reveal. (Gal. 4:11)

Godly men, from the near past, have fought many battles against error and immorality. We’re indebted to them for their stand against liberalism, digression, and apostasy. While we should be grateful and continue the fight, some have forgotten the “old battles” and don’t want to deal with the new ones.

As a Christian, I have witnessed and benefited from the goodness of brethren. Christians make financial sacrifices for one another when there’s a need, support each other when the world turns against them, and would rather suffer persecution together than to deny Christ. We stand as one in the battle against evil and pray for each other’s victory. (2 Thess. 3:1-2) Brethren across this country and from around the world want me to succeed. (Col. 1:9-12) I may not know all of them personally or know about their prayers on my behalf, but they are with me in the struggle.

Most of all, we should be grateful to God for all that He has done for us. (Gal. 1:3-4) The Father surrendered His Son and the Son came willing to offer His life for our offenses. We stood conquered by Satan and enslaved by sin, and without any hope for personal liberation. (Eph. 2:11-12) Our condition could not have been any worse because we were so undeserving and helpless. Sin alienates us from God and makes us His enemy, yet He was willing to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. (Rom. 5:6-10) None of us have ever seen God or spoken with Him directly. Neither were we there when Christ lived and died. It is a debt we can never repay, but one that demands our service and obedience. (Rom. 2:4-11) We must love God enough to obey His commands, to serve in His army, and to sacrifice all for Him. (John 15:10)

Few actions are more appalling and inexcusable than when one expresses ingratitude. When men and women fight for our freedom, how dare any of us scorn their sacrifice? Children who disrespect their godly parents are without excuse. While we don’t worship saints from the past, neither should we disparage their sacrifices. The saddest reality is many do not appreciate what God has done for them. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) They deny God in favor of the human wisdom of atheism and evolution. Religious people reject Christ in support of false prophets. People tamper with His Word, alter His plan of salvation, or give up their faith midway through the fight. It’s a sad commentary on our character when we are so ungrateful to the ones who have done the most for us. Be thankful to God for what He has done for you.

Terry Starling