Developing a Disposition of Thankfulness

Written by Ryan Evans on May 5th, 2016

The sin of discontentment can plague all of us, particularly our children. Learning to be thankful helps defeat the sins of murmuring, ungratefulness, and discontent. This is a central theme of Puritan writer Jeremiah Burroughs’ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment and an appropriate reminder for all of us.

Developing a disposition of thankfulness is critical in our sanctification. It’s also a virtue we as parents must strive to develop as we raise our children in a world of child-centered entitlement. Burroughs writes, “Contentment is the inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, freely submitting to and taking pleasure in God’s disposal in every direction.” Other nuggets of wisdom from Burroughs:

  • “When some men and women are complaining so much, and always whining, it is a sign that there is an emptiness in their hearts. If their hearts were filled with grace they would not make such a noise. A man whose bones are filled with marrow, and his veins with good blood does not complain of the cold as other do.”
  •  “Many men and women are discontented, and the truth is they do not know why; they think this and the other thing is the cause. But a man or woman who knows their own heart will soon find out where the root of their discontent lies, that it lies in some corruption and disorder of the heart, that through God’s mercy I have now found out.”
  • “A man who lies at home and has nothing to do finds fault with everything. So it is with the heart: when the heart of man has nothing to do, but to be busy about creature-comforts, every little thing troubles him; but when the heart is taken up with the weighty things of eternity, with the great things of eternal life, the things of here below that disquieted it before are things now of no consequence to him in comparison with the other – how things fall out here is not much regarded by him, if the one thing that is necessary is provided for.”
  • “A contented heart looks to God’s disposal, and submits to God’s disposal, that is, he sees the wisdom of God in everything. In his submission he sees his sovereignty, but what makes him take pleasure is God’s wisdom. The Lord knows how to order things better than I.”

As we celebrate each day, may you be blessed by what God has provided and what He has promised in His Word. As the Psalmist proclaims, “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”