This is the month when people in the United States are especially thinking about “thankfulness” or “thanksgiving.” Since this is such a prominent subject in the Bible, today I want to talk to you about the power of thankfulness and also what happens when people are unthankful.
Before we proceed, I want to say that I am THANKFUL TO GOD FOR YOU and for your prayers and financial support of our ministry! It’s been a year of great advancement in getting the teaching of God’s Word into people’s eyes, ears, hands, and hearts — but much of it has been due to your amazing generosity to sow your finances into our ministry. I use the word “sow” very carefully because I am really asking God to give you a huge harvest from the heartfelt gifts you have sown into this ministry. With your help, we have been able to reach more people around the world than at any other time in our ministry. I am so very thankful — to God and to you!
As I begin my teaching this month, I want us to see what the word “unthankful” means, but to do that, let’s first look at the word “thankful.” The word “thankful” that is primarily used throughout the New Testament is a translation of the Greek word charistos. The word charistos is a derivative of the word charis, which is the New Testament word for grace. However, when the word charis is transformed into charistos, it more fully expresses the idea of one whose heart is thankful, grateful, or appreciative for various reasons.
One scholar says the Greek word charistos depicts an inward awareness of having been fortunate or well-treated. Thus, the word “thankful” — translated from charistos — projects the deep inward feeling of one who is thankful, grateful, or appreciative for what one has received or how one has been treated by others.
All three words — “thankfulness,” “gratitude,” and “appreciation” — are the expressions of a person who is thankful he has experienced some good event or blessing. They depict someone who is grateful toward the person or people who treated him kindly and is appreciative of what has happened. These words also communicate the recognition of his thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation of his many blessings.
But the Holy Spirit prophesied in Second Timothy 3:2 that many in society will become “unthankful” in the last days. The word “unthankful” is the Greek word acharistos — the word charistos with an a affixed to the front of it. That little a has a canceling effect and literally changes the meaning of this word from thankful to unthankful. For example, though a person was once thankful, something has occurred and his thankfulness has been canceled. A thankful person has become an unthankful person.
In other words, though this person or society once had a thankful attitude, for some reason that same person (or people) lost his thankful, grateful, and appreciative attitude, and has become unthankful. Now unthankfulness, ingratitude, and unappreciativeness have filled his heart and mind. Rather than be thankful for what he has experienced or for the blessing he has received — rather than be grateful toward the people who have treated him kindly — rather than be appreciative for what has happened and recognize how appreciative he is for it, he has become unthankful. He is filled with ingratitude, and he is unappreciative of others and what they have done for him. Simply put, he is the picture of an ingrate!
But in Second Timothy 3:2, the Holy Spirit uses the Greek word “unthankful” — the Greek acharistos — to tell us many will depart from a thankful attitude and will transition into a state of unthankfulness. Yes, an unthankful attitude will rise up until its grip has seized society at the end of the age.
Unthankfulness is so wicked that in Luke 6:35, Jesus connects it with evil. He said, “…Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
Jesus’ words posture the characteristic of being “unthankful” in the same category as “evil.” This most assuredly tells us that an unthankful attitude is evil in God’s sight. It is simply spiritually criminal not to be thankful for what we have in life, even if it seems like what we have is little compared to someone else’s blessings.
And even if we feel we’ve worked hard and earned what we have, we still should be profusely thankful for the fact that what we have was given to us by God. Our jobs and opportunities could have been given to someone else, but they were graciously given to us. Others who need a job and a salary would be thankful to have your position and your income. There are people all over the world who do not have shelter, warmth, and clean water, but you likely have access to it every day. When you remember that, it will help you to be thankful for what you have and for every blessing that comes your way.
But unfortunately, we live in an end-time season when people are so self-focused and self-consumed that they are rarely grateful for anything — and if they are grateful, that attitude is often short-lived and soon forgotten.
The Bible commands us “be ye thankful” and “in everything, give thanks” (see Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even if things seem to be going wrong all around us, we can still stop to count our blessings! We may feel besieged by need at the present moment, but the fact is, we each have many reasons to be thankful! In Second Timothy 3:2, Paul forewarned us that many in the last days would become unthankful. It is a warning every one of us should heed.
At this time of the year when we are especially reminded to stop and think about what we are thankful, grateful, and appreciative for, it would be good for us to consider whether we have been thankful, grateful, and appreciative all year round! Even if we’ve been through hard times, those times could have been even harder, and we can think of much to be thankful, grateful, and appreciative for right now, while we’re still going through our difficult time or struggle.
I’m not trying to attack anyone who is going through a hard time. We all go through hard times at various seasons in life. I simply believe it’s healthy for each one of us to stop and reflect on what we have to be thankful for today and every day!
- What are you thankful for?
- What has God done for you this year that has been a blessing to you?
- What have others done for you that deserves a special thank you?
These are questions that are healthy to ask. Remember, Jesus said that unthankfulness is evil, so you and I DO NOT want to fall into that category! Better to self-correct and to be corrected than to end up in that awful condition of being unthankful! We simply need to put words of thanksgiving into our hearts and mouths!
I hope this letter has encouraged you. It has literally made me want to stop writing and start making a list of what I am thankful for in my life. Why don’t you and I both take time to do this today!
Thanks for letting me share this from my heart with you. I think you can see I put a lot of thought and study into it. I take ministering to you very seriously, so I pray this has really strengthened you today!
Remember that we are here for you when you need prayer. We are praying for you daily, but when you let us know how to pray specifically, it enables us to be even more effective in our praying. And please pray for us too…our ministry is touching thousands of lives and we want to do it excellently as unto the Lord. I cherish your prayers for us — and I thank you for your remarkable financial support to help us do it. You’re not just helping — you are a key player as a partner to enable us to get God’s Word out to people in a timely fashion!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families