There is a soul virus you know well. Just think about a time you went into work on Monday morning determined to have a great day. You wanted to start your week off right. You got up, got dressed, got into work with a smile on your face.
Everything was going well until Oscar entered the room. You don’t really remember his name but you call him Oscar. As in “the Grouch.” By his grumbling you’d think he lived in a trashcan. And even on Sesame St. it did not take long before there were more Grouches, a whole species. That’s because grouchiness grows and spreads like germs in a dumpster. A grouch’s main mission is “being as grouchy and miserable as they possibly can be and to make everyone else feel the same way.”
This Oscar succeeded in his mission. Before you knew it you were grumbling too. You carried it to lunch and before you left your lunch mate was griping about the service and the cost. He took it to his cubicle and it spread to the next. By the end of the day your Monday had become Glumday.
And your soul was in danger.
The virus of ingratitude had done its work. You can find some solace in knowing that it has had more experience infecting souls than yours has had rejecting it. First some history and then an antidote for those who wish to be healthy.
You see, ingratitude is the original sin. Adam and Eve had so much for which to be thankful. They had a lush lawn under their feet. Bouquets of Bluebonnets in their fields. (Why Bluebonnets? This was the Garden of Eden. It must have looked like Texas.) An energy efficient sun keeping their temperature at the optimal range of 72 degrees. An abundance of fruit to eat and a variety of animals to pet.
They had safety and security. They could live without clothes and feel no need to hide. Very different from your experience, right? Just get up tomorrow morning, take off your sleepwear, and waltz outside to greet the morning and see how you feel. They had it made. They had everything for which to be thankful.
Until…until a virus was planted in an apple. Ever notice that Satan didn’t ask them about all the things they had? Instead, he asked them about the one thing they could not have. Instead of being grateful for what they had they wanted more.
The virus of ingratitude has spread through humankind ever since. But there’s good news. If ingratitude can kill your soul then gratitude can heal your soul. Maybe that’s why over 100 times Scripture gives examples or commands for gratitude. For example Psalm 103 reads: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits …”
Paul taught the same. In Philippians he writes “Do all things without grumbling…” Instead, he teaches “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
God’s will for us is to give thanks. Not just once in a while. But always and in everything. So writes Paul to the Colossian church: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Gratitude is the antidote to the ingratitude virus. Gratitude can boost your soul’s immune system. More gratitude will not come by acquiring more things you don’t have but by remembering all the things you do have in God.
So start today. Make a list of the things for which you are grateful. Carry it into and beyond Thanksgiving Day. When you do you’ll find your soul coming alive. And you’ll find yourself full of more than a turkey dinner.