The Bible names an absence of gratitude and humility in its lists of human attitudes in the last days:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
A friend recently emailed me a link to a YouTube video of Kate Smith singing God Bless America. Few Americans are aware that the introductory stanza of the song includes the following call to gratitude:
“Let us all be grateful for a land so fair
as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer”
According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, gratitude “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”. But, I would argue that gratitude is different from appreciation, and deeper than thankfulness.
Gratitude requires an acknowledgement of both a need and my own inability to meet that need.
For example, I may appreciate and even be thankful for someone opening a door for me, but since I am fully capable of opening the door for myself, the act won’t necessarily inspire gratitude.