Did you smell that? That horrible stench. It’s the rotting heart of unthankfulness. Many times missionaries can be extremely unthankful, unappreciative, or ungrateful. It seems that we can easily harbor a thankless attitude and not show any gratitude. This is wrong, it’s sin.
Missionaries live to serve the Lord in “full-time ministry” which usually means their income comes from those giving for this cause. Though missionaries usually can start out with a good heart and intention, it is easy for them to get upset and loose the right focus when they aren’t treated in a manner that they expect to be treated. The motto of “die to self” is flooded out by the voice of “live it up”.
Here are two reasons I think missionaries can easily harbor this heart of unthankfulness:
1. We think we deserve something. Have you ever met a missionary that didn’t think he deserved something? I am sure they exist, but there is a mindset that seems to take place and people get trapped into it.
We often tell ourselves that because of our surrender in giving up our previously “wonderful life” and our sacrifice of going to the mission field we must compensate ourselves.
To make up for this loss, we buy nice things, live in nice places, and eat good food, all because we deserve it. After all, we did sacrifice leaving home and are living in a strange land. There are some things that we should “deserve” for this sacrifice of being a missionary. People ought to visit me on the mission field, send me packets of my favorite goodies in the mail, remember my family’s birthdays, and of course send a “love offering” around the holidays. This is the least people can do for us.
This mindset can grab hold of missionaries and their families and cause the whole family to harbor ill feelings toward others and their situation.
We take our eyes off of Jesus and start putting them on ourselves and our situation. We loose sight of the privilege that we have to serve our Lord in this capacity and are filled with pride and self indulgence.
We have the mindset that everything is deserved because of our sacrifice. We forget that we are nothing. We forget how to rejoice in the drought and the harvest. We forget to give thanks in all things.