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Don't Be A Turkey: The Ungrateful Heart


1 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you.”

The word “turkey” has multiple definitions in the English language. Of course, a turkey is a large North American bird, but it’s also a nation in Asia Minor. Turkey is the term for three consecutive strikes in bowling. It’s also another word for a failure or a loser; and, finally, a turkey is a rude, unappealing person. 

One of the most rude, unappealing attitudes is to be ungrateful. To express gratitude means to tell others how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you. To neglect or ignore what others have done for you is to be a “turkey” – rude and unappealing. The Bible tells us to avoid such people (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Don’t be a turkey. Be thankful.

Christians should be the most thankful people in the world, because we know what God has done for us. We should give thanks at all times, for He is good (Eph. 5:4, 20; Col. 4:2; Psalm 106:1). However, we often overlook the good that others are doing on our behalf. 

Here are some turkey tips to practice this Thanksgiving. 

T -- Take time to thank the people who have benefitted your life. Write a note of appreciation, speak to them in person, or give them a call. Remember, when it comes to expressing gratitude, it’s better late than never.

U -- Use specific examples when thanking people. Avoid saying things like, “Thank you for everything you do.” Rather recount the particular ways that they’ve helped you. Being precise with your gratitude is most meaningful.

R -- Remember to thank people who are behind the scenes. Just because people are unseen doesn’t mean they are less important. Who are those people who enable you to do what you do but who are rarely recognized or appreciated?

K -- Know that grateful expressions leave great impressions. When Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Him (Luke 17). “Were there not ten that were cleansed,” Jesus asked. “Where are they?” Be the one. 

E -- Encouraging others with grateful words will also encourage you. Just as it is better to give than to receive (Acts. 20:35), so also is it better to thank than to be thanked. “Do not look out for your own personal interests but also the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3).

Y -- Your recognizing the help of others develops humility in your life. Ungrateful people tend to become arrogant and self-absorbed. Expressing appreciation to others for their part in your success deflects attention away from yourself to someone more deserving.

You will have many opportunities this holiday season to express your gratitude to others. Don’t be a turkey. Be thankful. “Whatever you do in or word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17).