Why Be Grateful to the Creator?
ANYONE who fails to show appreciation for kindness shown him usually is looked upon as lacking in feeling or in good upbringing. Naturally, of all the people entitled to our gratitude for showing us kindness, our parents rank among the foremost. It is universally recognized that children should be grateful to their parents for bringing them into the world and providing them with food, clothing, shelter, education, and so forth.
However, though we are indebted to our parents, indebtedness to our Creator is even greater. Why? Because we have received many more benefits from him.
To illustrate: We are grateful to our parents for bringing us into the world. But our life actually did not come from them in the first place. They only passed life on to us, for with the Creator is the actual source of life. (Psalm 36:9) We also appreciate our parents for having provided life’s necessities. Yet, while these essentials were obtained by either their money or their labors, they did not create such needed things. Hence, we have much greater reason to feel indebted to our Creator.
Were it not for the One who created the earth and made all its provisions for sustaining human life, no amount of money or laborious effort could keep us alive. As the Christian apostle Paul pointed out to the Greeks in ancient Athens: “He [the Creator] himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things. For by him we have life and move and exist.”—Acts 17:25, 28.
Despite all that the Creator has done and is doing for mankind, millions today totally disregard him and certainly do not thank him for the numerous benefits they have received. Some, although grudgingly acknowledging that there must be a Creator, make little effort to learn more about him or his will. Others, numbering into the millions, even deny that there is a Creator, claiming that all things just came into existence by themselves. What shocking ingratitude! Such lack of appreciation is one of many indications that we are in “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Yet, we individually can and should be grateful to our Creator.
The Creator’s Wonderful Gifts
The better we become acquainted with the One who made all things, the more we realize that he is the Giver of “every good gift.” (James 1:17; Revelation 4:11) As it is, most of those who show no gratitude to the Creator try to justify their course by claiming that since no man has ever seen Him, we cannot be sure that He exists. True, the great Creator is invisible to us because he is a Spirit, and our eyes cannot see persons or things in the spiritual realm. (John 4:24) But man’s inability to see the Creator really is no valid reason for taking His generous provisions for granted and refusing to acknowledge our indebtedness to Him.
Suppose you came home one day and found that someone had left you a large bag of delicious fruit. The next day a basket of fresh garden vegetables was left, and the day thereafter you were given some fine cuts of meat. This went on for a whole week, but a note never was left to identify the giver. Would you conclude that all these gifts had come about “naturally” just because you had not seen anyone leaving the food? Rather, would you not make diligent inquiry among friends and relatives, trying to identify the kind giver so that you could express sincere appreciation to him or her?
The case with our Creator is similar. Though he is invisible to human eyes, his love, kindness and generosity toward mankind are amply proved by his wonderful creation that satisfies our needs in every way. As the apostle Paul pointed out to inhabitants of ancient Lystra: “Indeed, [God] did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:17) So it is only right for us to acknowledge our indebtedness to the Creator and our dependence on his provisions for life. Furthermore, should we not search for him even more diligently than we would for the unknown gift giver of our illustration?—Acts 17:26, 27.
Cultivating Appreciation for the Creator
Only when we have come to know the Creator and can truly appreciate what he has done for us will we be moved to love and obey him. While millions today claim to believe in God, it is obvious from the way the majority live that not many have genuine, heartfelt appreciation for their Maker. But we do not have to be similarly ungrateful. So the question that should interest us is, How can we cultivate a deep appreciation for our Grand Creator?
First of all, it will do us good to reflect on the numerous benefits we have received from the Creator. He granted us our life, even though at present the human life span is of limited duration. (Psalm 90:10) Our appreciation will be enhanced, too, if we meditate on the fact that Jehovah God has also made generous provisions to sustain humans and other forms of life on earth. As the psalmist appreciatively said: “With the fruitage of [God’s] works the earth is satisfied. He is making green grass sprout for the beasts, and vegetation for the service of mankind, to cause food to go forth from the earth. . . . How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”—Psalm 104:10-24.
Mankind has even greater reason to be grateful to God, for humans have been given much more than have the animals. Of all the creatures on earth, humankind alone has the ability to reason, to appreciate beauty and spiritual values, and above all, to know and worship the Creator. This is so because man alone was created in God’s image and has been endowed with qualities that reflect those of Jehovah God. (Genesis 1:27) Hence, we are capable of experiencing not just physical pleasures but also much deeper and more lasting mental pleasures. Man alone can appreciate fine music, literature, poetry, painting and numerous other forms of art. Only man knows the joy of pleasant and upbuilding conversation, as well as the satisfying sense of accomplishment when one has done something really worthwhile.
Unique in man also is the yearning for everlasting life. This is a desire implanted in the human heart by the loving Creator. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) But this is not just some vain hope that cannot possibly be fulfilled. Rather, due to the Creator’s great love for mankind, he has already made all the necessary arrangements for humans to enjoy everlasting life on earth amid delightful paradisaic conditions. Yes, God has lovingly made this possible through the ransom sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ.—Romans 5:12; 6:23; 1 John 2:1, 2.
While much pleasure is realized when our physical, mental and emotional needs are satisfied, the greatest blessing results from the filling of our spiritual need. (Matthew 5:3) We naturally want to know our origin, where we are heading and what purpose the Creator has for the earth and mankind. Moreover, we desire to know our Maker and enjoy a good relationship with him. Happily, those who are aware of their spiritual need and who act to satisfy it in a proper way are able to experience a deep and lasting joy that never is known by fleshly minded individuals.—1 Corinthians 2:6-16.
Having our spiritual need satisfied gives us true peace of heart and mind and a great measure of happiness, even though we live in a world of unprecedented troubles. More importantly, consciousness of our spiritual need can result in the greatest blessing any human can experience—life eternal in God’s righteous new system of things.—John 3:16; Philippians 4:6, 7; 2 Peter 3:13.
Getting Better Acquainted With Our Creator
If we are convinced that a loving and generous Creator exists, is it not logical that we would desire to know him better and show our appreciation for his loving-kindness by doing things that please him? By observing God’s marvelous creation, we are able to perceive some of his fine qualities, such as love, generosity, consideration, wisdom and power. (Romans 1:20) However, a written record from God is needed if we are to learn of his thoughts and purposes toward humans. Besides, such a record should tell us about things God did in the past and will yet do for the blessing of mankind.
Happily, we have such a record in the most widely circulated book in human history—God’s Word, the Bible. It is the Creator’s will that his creatures be able to acquire accurate knowledge of him and develop a deep love for him by studying his Word and meditating upon it. They can thus learn of God’s many wonderful deeds and can come to appreciate the various facets of his magnificent personality.—Joshua 1:8.
Showing God Our Appreciation
Diligent study of God’s Word is essential if we want to develop a keen appreciation of the Creator. The more we learn about Jehovah and his many fine qualities, the more we are attracted to him. We cannot help being filled with love and admiration for such a kind, loving and magnificent God. Moreover, we may be moved to express our feelings as did the psalmist, who said: “I shall remember the practices of Jah [Jehovah]; for I will remember your marvelous doing of long ago. And I shall certainly meditate on all your activity, and with your dealings I will concern myself. O God, your way is in the holy place. Who is a great God like God? You are the true God, doing marvelously.”—Psalm 77:11-14.
How, then, can we show our heartfelt appreciation to the Grand Creator? Our love for him and gratitude for his loving-kindness should motivate us to serve him voluntarily. We should view this not just as a duty but more as a pleasure. Such joyful, willing service is desired by Jehovah, for the psalmist was inspired to say: “Serve Jehovah with rejoicing. Come in before him with a joyful cry.”—Psalm 100:2.
Is it not a source of great pleasure to serve someone we truly love? Surely it is. And that is true, indeed, of our service to Jehovah, the Grand Creator.
Of course, serving Jehovah involves more than living a clean life and not doing what is bad in his eyes. Godly conduct is essential, but our service to the Creator also includes praising him actively and joyously. It means telling others about Jehovah’s great deeds and grand purposes, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
So all who have true appreciation for our wonderful Creator will be very glad to respond to this happy call of the psalmist: “Sing to Jehovah, bless his name. From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him. Declare among the nations his glory, among all the peoples his wonderful works. For Jehovah is great and very much to be praised.” (Psalm 96:2-4) By such joyful service you, like so many others, can convincingly show that you really appreciate what the Creator has done for you.
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Show that you appreciate Jehovah’s provisions