Bill Woodruff loved to play golf, but poor eyesight made it difficult for him. Trying to help him continue one of his favorite activities as long as possible, his club professional suggested he play with Mr. Hughes, who was somewhat older than Bill but could “see like a hawk.” So the next day, both golfers went to the first tee together. All excited about being able to play confidently again, Woodruff took a tremendous swing and smacked the ball right down the middle.
Turning to his companion, he almost shouted, "Man, did that ever feel good! Did you see it?"
"I sure did," his playing partner said.
"Well, where did it go?" Mr. Hughes hesitated, and then replied with a deep sigh, "I can't remember!"
A lot of us are either blind or forgetful about things far more important than where a golf ball is headed, aren’t we?
Jesus said that God blesses both the righteous and the wicked (Matthew 5:45). Well, which do you think is worse — ungodly people who don’t see or refuse to admit that God has given them so many good things, or those of us who see his goodness but neglect, time after time, to remember to express our appreciation to God? This absentmindedness isn’t the loss of memory often brought about by advanced years, but that which comes from habitually practicing forgetfulness. You’ve likely heard the idea that people remember just about what they want to remember. This saying finds application in my point here. If a husband really wants to remember his umpteenth anniversary, won’t he try to do whatever it takes to do it? In practical terms, it seems to me that the ingratitude of the godless individual and the careless neglect of the Christian are at about the same place on the “which is worse” scale.
In a psalm referenced in many funeral services over the last 50 years, David expresses his consciousness of the need for gratitude to the Lord: “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things” (Psalm 103:1–5).
We sometimes sing a hymn that says “God is so good!” Of course, he is good to us. He’s good to us all the time, not just when he brings the blessings we desire. As with other songs, it’s possible we might sing without really thinking of the specific ways his goodness and mercy is demonstrated. But we shouldn’t, should we?
Are you aware of some of the good God is doing for you? Do you have a sense of appreciation? Then be like the leper who remembered to thank Jesus for his cleansing, not like the nine who were sinfully negligent in their lack of demonstrated gratitude. (See Luke 17:11–19.)