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A Thankful Heart 

“in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.”

(1Thessalonians 5:18)

We live in a world which is full of suffering and misery. Hopelessness is its portion. The sufferings and miseries of mankind increase everyday. Man wants to earn and accumulate more and more. He is like an ox that is always going around and around, and at the end of the day he is still on the same spot. He achieves everything he was set to do but still he lacks many things. He worries about the things which he could not achieve. He can’t see his achievements and material gains; he sees only what he did not achieve and he is worried about that. His view gets so bad that what he possesses is like having nothing. The things which he could not achieve he worries about continuously. In this way he is the prey of depravity and failure.

Do you thank God, the One who created you? He put His breath into your nostrils; your spirit is in His hands. To lead a life on this earth He meets all your needs and provides all your needed resources.

Do you thank God for the breath you are inhaling right now? Just think for a moment: what if you begin to feel some problem in your breathing or you have to take very long breaths? What will be your natural response?  If your breathing problem continues, what will you do? In a single minute we breathe 48 times, in an hour 2880 times, in a day 691,120 times, and in a year we breathe 25,228,800 times.

When a patient has breathing problem he is given oxygen. At that moment his loved ones pray for his each and every breath. Just think for a moment that I or you are in his place; what will be the price of a single breath? This is a free gift of God. We are breathing and we are alive by God’s mercy and grace. This breath is free. In reality do you thank God for this breath? If God would take away oxygen from this earth for a minute then everything that breathes, human beings, animals, plants, will die! How terrible will be our world then?

Do you thank God for all your body parts? Thank Him for your eyes with which you can see the colors in this world, the flowers, the butterflies, clouds, greenery, beautiful scenes, the fruits and their different colors.

Do you thank God for your ears with which you can listen and can recognize different voices?

Do you thank God for your nose? You can smell the different smells of food. In Kathmandu, Nepal I met with some lepers. These lepers had only half noses, some did not have feet or hands, some had their lips cut off, some have just one eye, their faces were disfigured.

Do you thank God for your tongue? It helps you to talk and to taste. But many times we forget to thank God for these small organs.

Do you thank God for your hands and fingers? There are people whose fingers have been cut off. There are some who do not have one hand or both hands.

At one time I was very much worried about the pain in the joints of my fingers. But when I saw the Nepalese lepers without hands I was very much ashamed before God. I wept and asked forgiveness that was so worried about the joint pain of my fingers while these people must live without fingers and hands. “Oh Lord forgive me, grant me grace that I should thank You.”  

Perhaps you think that God has given you all these organs and it is your right. Do you ever thank God for these organs?

Do you thank God for your feet? You stand on these feet. By these feet you can go wherever you like to go. There are people who must walk with the help of crutches. There are people who have just one leg or have no legs.

In 1980 I went for ministry with my uncle, evangelist Khurshid Masih, to a village near Muridkay Mundee district, Sheikhupura, some 160 miles away from Rawalpindi. This was the beginning of my ministry. Our host, who was thirty years of age, lived with both of his legs amputated above his knees. His wife goes to the nearby town to buy groceries. He had a small grocery shop. The next morning when we woke up, he was milking his cow. Under his knees he had wrapped several layers of bandages so that he would not feel pain on the point where his legs were amputated. It was indeed very difficult for him to walk. In order to keep his balance he held two empty tins of edible oil, he put his weight through his hands on these tins. As I saw him I could not stop myself and asked the question, “Brother, how did all this happen to you?”

He told me, “I was in Karachi and from there I was coming to my town by train. The train stopped on a platform and I came out of the train. After few minutes the train moved, I ran and tried to get into the train, my foot slipped and I fell onto the train’s track. Unfortunately the wheels of the train passed over my both legs.”

This man was like you and me. We could also face such accidents. But thank God that He protects us. There are some people who have been paralyzed due to polio.

Do you thank God for your mental abilities? If you are a student, do you thank God for your good grades?

Do you thank God for your good health? “Who healeth all thy diseases;” (Psalm 103:3). If you were sick in the past, God delivered you from that sickness. If God has healed you from enteric fever, tuberculosis, cancer; if you have gone through a major surgery—God restored your health. In connection to these incidents what is your response? Do you thank God that he gave you new life?

Do you thank God for your parents? Do you thank God for your mother who carried you in her womb, gave you birth, she provided your milk, bed, health… for everything. She could not sleep at night just to take a good care of you. She raised you at the time when you were totally helpless.

Do you thank God for your father? He worked hard day and night and he helped you to reach to this point where you are standing today. He taught you the art of survival in this world. 

This is the commandment of God.  “Honor thy father and thy mother,” (Exodus 20:12)

Do you thank God for your spouse and children?

Do you thank God for your home, environment, and for your neighbors?

Do you thank God  for your business, institute, school, hospital wherever you are working, wherever God has put and arranged for your livelihood so that you can take good care of yourself and your family?

Do you thank God for your friends, supervisors, and co-workers? For those who encourage you? Do you pray for them?

Do you thank God for your homeland where you can live in full freedom?

Do you thank God for your country, rulers, President and Prime Minister?

Dr. Billy Graham said, “How many times we have thankless hearts. We make God angry. God does not like our murmuring attitude. Thanklessness is a sin. It’s the same as telling a lie, stealing, adultery, or any other sin which the scripture condemns. There is nothing which makes us so quick to be bitter or selfish as that of a thankless or ungrateful heart. There is nothing better to restore our contentment and the joy of our salvation than the thankfulness of a grateful heart.”

Remember that the general grace of God is for everybody. All the blessings which have been mentioned here, they are for everybody. No matter what the creed, faith, or religion to which a person belongs—the general blessings are for you.

However, only those people who know God through Jesus Christ can truly thank God from the depths of their hearts. “…in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.” (1Thessalonians 5:18) A thankful heart is an attitude, and we honor God with this attitude. When we serve one another this is an expression of our thankful heart.

 May the Lord grant us grace that we may thank him with our true heart.

“A grateful heart is a tonic for our body, soul and spirit.”

re: A Thankful Heart

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re: A Thankful Heart

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