Years ago, Ed Spencer risked his life to save 17 people from drowning on Lake Michigan. A steamship, Lady Elgin, broke apart and began sinking fast. Spencer rushed from his dormitory, tied a rope around his waist, and swam out to the ship again and again until he had saved 17 people. Finally, physically exhausted, he passed out and was taken to his room. Later, as he opened his eyes, his first question was, “Did I do my full duty—did I do my best?” Spencer’s injuries were so severe that he spent the rest of us life in a wheelchair, yet not a single one of the people he saved ever came to say “Thank you.” Ingratitude. That is what God charged His ancient people Israel with, despite all He had done for them. We read in Micah chapter 6: “O my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me! I brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help you. Don’t you remember, my people, how King Balak of Moab tried to have you cursed and how Balaam son of Beor blessed you instead? And remember your journey from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, when I, the LORD, did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness.” Some asked how they should show gratitude. God replied, “He has showed you, O man what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Justice and compassion toward others, humility toward God—anything less is an attitude of ingratitude.
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