A subway car was overly crowded, causing several people to have to stand. Naturally, most of them were griping about the situation. As the car pulled into another station where still more people boarded, one standing man said to those who were coming aboard, “I hope you people like standing because we’ve been doing it for a long time.” He didn’t see the crippled invalid who was helped aboard the train and graciously given a seat, but the invalid heard the comment. To it, he somberly replied, “Then you are fortunate.”
But, please, let’s not hypocritically judge the fellow who was standing. The fact is, he could have been any one of us. Speaking for myself, his complaint sounds just like something that I would have said. After all, it’s typical human nature, isn’t it? Yes, it is, but that still doesn’t make it right or pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:15 says of Jesus:
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (N.K.J.V.)
By breaking down this verse into its three sections, we find that each section presents a different question for the Christian to answer. Question #1 is: “How are you doing these days at continually offering the sacrifice of praise to God?” Question #2 is: “What form has the fruit of your lips been taking recently?” And question #3 is: “Are you currently in the habit of giving thanks to the name of the Lord?” Truth be told, our answers to these questions probably leave much to be desired.
Christian, the Lord knows that you have legitimate problems, and He also knows that life can be a difficult game to play. But through it all, He remains forevermore worthy to be praised. Even during those times in which you don’t feel like praising Him, He is still worthy. The secret to praising Him during those times is to train yourself to count your blessings rather than complain about your troubles. As the old saying goes, “Count your blessings one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Even that crippled invalid who was boarding that train wouldn’t have had to look very hard to find something for which to be thankful. First, he could have been thankful for the people who helped him get aboard the train. Second, he could have been thankful for the person who gave up his seat for him. Third, he could have been thankful that someone in his condition could get aboard a train and travel to distant places, places he could never have seen on his own. Do you see my point?
So, Christian, in the midst of all your grumbling and complaining, make yourself stop and be thankful for all the good things that God has sent your way. And if you can’t come up with anything, be thankful for the fact that Jesus Christ (God the Son) left heaven, took upon Himself human flesh, lived without sin among men, died on a cross to pay the sin debt for the sins of the world, arose from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and now offers salvation to anyone who will believe in Him as Savior. Trust me, that one item right there should be enough to keep you thankful for all eternity.