What Ingratitude Says About Us

Date: November 19, 2018

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8 (KJV).


Frank Mihalic tells of a man with a deeply infected tropical ulcer who, hobbling on crutches, came to the local clinic asking for help. A nursing sister looked at the open wound, infected and enlarged with redness that reflected poison that could take his leg, or possibly his life. What should she do? Medicines were sparse but she also knew that his condition was serious.

She began by diligently cleaning his open wound. Then she administered penicillin when her supply was rapidly dwindling without hope of refurbishing it in the near future. Looking into the eyes of the impoverished man, she saw someone worthy of redemption and help. Morning by morning the man returned, and the sister gently peeled away the infected area, applied antibiotic and smiled as she watched the work of healing gradually take place.

For a month the man came, finally abandoning his crutches walking with a slight limp but nevertheless walking on his own. Finally the morning came, and with gladness of heart she said, “Okay, now you won’t have to come back anymore. Your sore is healed!”

Expecting the man to warmly thank her for her ministrations of love, she was taken aback by his words, “What are you going to give me now for having come back every morning so faithfully?”

That’s gratitude for you!  Or is it a reflection of a sense of entitlement that no matter what we receive from the hand of one who graciously bestows blessing upon us day after day we expect more.

Question: Is it possible that the ingratitude of the man is but a reflection of our expectations with God?  More than 200 times the Bible speaks of what God does for His own, much as a loving sister did for the ulcerated foot of the man who came hobbling on his crutches to the small medical station. For a moment think of the inequities between the ungrateful man with an infection that could have taken his life, and the caregiver. He came with nothing to compensate her for either her medicine or her time, and she expected nothing.  She was there because someone cared about the impoverished, the neglected, the suffering.  He deserved nothing, but she gave generously and without receiving any recompense whatsoever.

What that woman did was a picture of what the Bible calls grace, and it is a concept that can only be understood in a spiritual framework. In an attempt to make the word gracemore readily understood, modern translators sometimes use the term “favor” to describe what Christians in the English-speaking world have known as grace for centuries.

The first use of that word in the Bible was Moses description of a man whose name was Noah. When evil had become widespread and so perverse that God could no longer countenance what was taking place, He determined to destroy what He had created and start all over again.  “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” said Moses.

Everything that God has done for you is not because you deserve it, not because He owes you anything, but simply because He has chosen to touch your life with His hand of mercy and compassion, bringing healing to the putrid wound of sin that ultimately will take your life.

And what reward do you expect for being so faithful to keep on asking for more without learning to say, “Thank you for what you have already done!” Before you condemn the man who hobbled to the clinic morning after morning, expecting more for faithfully begging for help, take stock of your life, your relationships, and your faith! Who knows? You may be the same beggar.

Resource reading: Psalm 100:1-5


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