It is tantamount to a display of banal ingratitude to a friend who in a boundless demonstration of compassionate comradeship decides to assist us in time of need only for us to mock, traduce and blackmail him behind his back. This fiendish spirit of ingratitude has stopped most people from doing good and this has surreptitiously injected individualism into the world. Ingratitude has murdered philanthropy.
A little soft thank you, an acknowledgement, a recognition, a genuflection, a passionate apology and good retort to somebody who has done something good to us is a laudable and noble reflection of gratitude. Though little, but it shows the greatness in little things. Scott Arnold the essayist said, “Little things are but little things, but carefulness in them is noble and when put in the right places go a long way.”
Do we do good because we expect a reward and a pay back? Some do good to those they know can also do to them, quite a miniscule few do “good for goodness sake.” Man must realize that there is always a reward for doing good, but the reward is more bounteous when it comes from God. Do good and leave the rest to God. It is tantamount again to secular humanism if you do good to those we hope to get reciprocal action from, it is more blessed to do good to the needy and poor. Extrapolating Ella Wilcox, “Dollar’s planted in the soil of benevolence grow into harvest of prosperity.”
In the book “The great controversy” by E.G. White, we are told that when emperor Charles V ascended the throne of Germany he was by papal bull or the papal mandate asked to carry out wanton persecution of “Doctor Luther” the reformist. But the quick intervention of the ‘Elector of Saxony, to whom Charles V was greatly indebted on account to his throne, he discountenanced the order. This is a splendid display of gratitude because when he was fighting to ascend the throne the “Elector of Saxony” stood by him. Gratitude is a noble virtue registered and cultivated in great minds. Like the quality of mercy, the quality of gratitude is not strained. It dropped as the gentle rains from heaven and it is twice blessed, him that giveth and him that receiveth. It is a pity, and indeed a pity beyond all telling, a wondrous pity that “man” can be ungrateful. Ingratitude is a monster too hideous to behold.
The icon Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe cherished the virtues of humanity and gratitude. He gave tacit endorsement to these virtues anytime he delivered a panegyrical speech. A case in point was in May 4th 1949, when he admonished the inimitable unionist Pa Imoudu, he said, “Courage brother courage, do not stumble or falter. Through the path be dark as night, there is a star to guide the humble and grateful ….. trust in God and do the right.” Ingratitude as a noxious and egregious conduct will imperceptibly but inexorable lead us on the perilous path of doom.
Gratitude to God is the height of it all. That is where our lives lie and that is where our peace can come from. Augustine of Hippo supported by Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Man is a being that cannot find happiness outside God, for only through him and in him can there be that “Peace” that passeth all understanding.”
Under any situation let gratitude to the Almighty God be the signet and guiding light of our lives. Gratitude is euphony and euphony is the greatest form of prayers. It is a tragedy of eternal proportion for man to lack this virtue. We are told the story of exemplary gratitude in Germany. “A young man lay on an operating table. A skilled surgeon stood next to him and a group of his students were nearby. The surgeon said to the patient, “If you wish to say anything before we administer the anesthetics, now is your opportunity for I must warn you that they will be the last words you will ever utter in this world. The young man understood for his tongue was to be removed because of cancer.
What words should he choose for such an occasion? After a long pause, he said “Thank God for Jesus Christ.” Can we say the same to appreciate God’s many gifts? First thank Him for His greatest gift in Christ Jesus.
Gratitude to God stimulates all commendable traits in man, love, brotherhood, kindness, charity and altruism. Why is man ungrateful? This again takes us into the complex being called Man for Alexander Pope warns, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man.” Let man introspectively unearth his grotesque inner-man in him and come out and over with an eternal cure for himself. This will build great universal bridge across the world. The basic foundation of gratitude and man shall have become fully explored and understood.
Pastor and lecturer Thomas Dewitt Talmage (1832-1902) told the story of an accident that occurred on a ferry on one great lakes. “A little girl standing by the rail suddenly lost her balance and fell overboard. “Save my child” cried the frantic mother, lying on the deck was a great Newfoundland dog, which plunged into the water at the command of his mother. Swimming to the girl he took hold of her clothing with his teeth and brought her to the side of the boat, where both were lifted to safety. Although still frightened, the little girl threw her arms around that shabby dog and kissed him again and again. It seemed a natural and appropriate thing to do.
Likewise a response of love and gratitude should flow from every person who has been rescued by the Saviour through his self-abnegation and self-sacrificing death on the cross. He came from heaven’s glory to suffer and die that we might have eternal life. A good attitude towards life begins with gratitude toward God.
Gratitude is the common denominator with which the latent values of goodness and blessings from God are expressed. It has an all-embracing outreach. Be it in Islamism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastanism, Confucianism, Eckism, Paganism etc. Gratitude remains a magisterial and imperious plinth of reaching out to the Almighty (Light, God, Allah etc.). But call Almighty one by any name he remains the same Almighty One.
In recognition of the importance of practicing good as a means of enthusing Allah and committing our lives to him not to our empty self-secular humanism, the Holy Koran admonishes in Ayat 4 Surat 173 that “Allah will reward those that have faith and do good works. He will enrich them from his own abundance. As for those who are scornful and proud, he will sternly punish them and they shall find none beside Allah to protect or help them.” There is no victory and peace anywhere except in the – Almighty One. Allah promises further in Ayat 19 Surat 9 “As for those that believe and do good works. Allah will guide them through their faith. Rivers will run beneath them in the gardens of delight. Their prayers there will be glory to you Lord and their greetings peace. Praise be unto Allah, Lord of the creation will be the last of their prayers.”
Finally, let us begin to see “Humanity” as one big happy family created and continuously called by the Almighty to come and know him in truth and in spirit so that we can show him gratitude befittingly due Him. We should show great love to his creation through generosity, for if thou doeth it to one of this little ones, thou doeth unto me. Let us not lilliputanise his person through our megalomaniacal self – seeking arrogance. He is a God and not man. He is the real indescribable and unfathomable conundrum that has provided love, gratitude and faith as the only “Key” to unravel the “empty dust” called man. “Man know thy self”. Politicians must learn from the morphology of ingratitude and shun ventriloquisms in 2015, otherwise they will be singing their own nunc dimities.
Chief Gbinije is of Mandate Against Poverty, Map, Warri