Entitlement: If I think that I deserve more (or better), or if I think that I have earned all I own by my hard work, or if I believe that God owes me a good life, then I will feel entitled to more and will not be thankful for what I do have. But, if I see all that I have as a generous gift from a gracious God, I will be thankful for it because I know I don’t deserve it and I haven’t somehow earned it and God doesn’t owe it to me. It is a gift, and therefore I am thankful.
Comparison: If I am constantly comparing myself with others–by noticing that someone is better dressed than me or eats better than me or lives in a nicer home than me or serves more than me or seems to be happier than me–I will never be satisfied and certainly never thankful. But if I think deeply about the blessings God has bestowed on me and meditate on all the ways that He has surprised me with His mercy, my heart will well up in thanksgiving for His goodness to me.
The Upgrade Mentality (a.k.a. Newer-Is-Always-Better): If I am constantly sucked into the marketing that promises I will save so much time if I have this new gadget, or my health will be so much better if I follow this new diet, or my Christian life will be so much more fulfilling if I read this new book, then thankfulness will be a fleeting idea that gets tossed aside like last year’s iPhone. But if I learn to see the value in enjoying deeply what I already have, and start to actually utilize things instead of just consuming them, and discover the relational joy that comes in making something together as a family, then thankfulness will take root and flourish like a shade tree that’s been growing for a century.