One of the struggles I have with holidays as a pastor is the fact that there is little left to say that hasn’t already been said better than I can say it. In the seasons when I’ve been a solo pastor, I secretly dreaded Christmas, Easter, and every other special day on the calendar. All the good stuff has already been taken. What’s left to say that isn’t going to leave me and my listeners bored?

So for this Thanksgiving post, I’ve decided to take a different approach. No inevitable commentary on the one thankful leper and the nine ingrates. No ma’am, and no sir – not this time. I’ve decided to offer some very practical tips to help you succeed at ingratitude. If you’re going to live an ungrateful life, I’d like to help you do it really well. Here we go:

Be demanding.

Don’t be a satisfied person. Always look for more and ask for more. Demand more from everyone around you. Never let up.

Keep busy.

Above all else, stay in motion. Don’t sit. Don’t rest. Don’t think. Don’t consider. Don’t reflect. Certainly don’t pray. Just act, act, and act some more. In fact, the more brain-numbing and soul-killing the activity, the better.

Be cynical.

Never forget that everyone is out to get you. Better to do one to others before they do one to you.

Keep score.

Make a mental note of every failure, every let down, and every flaw. Even better, write them down and title your work, “My Disappointment Diary”. With a printed copy, you can share them with everyone.

Be offended.

The art of taking umbrage is making a comeback. Don’t miss your chance to join in the resurgence. Social media is an awesome avenue to hone your skill. Be sure to take in lots of news and information from people who are good at monetizing your outrage.

Keep stuff.

Don’t give things away. Ever. That tool you haven’t touched in 14 years? I bet you’ll need it tomorrow.

Be entitled.

Everyone owes you, so don’t give up that dogged determination to get what’s coming to you. What has the universe done for you lately?

Keep to yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t connect with others. Don’t make friends. Don’t get to know your neighbors. And above all else… please hear me on this… absolutely do not engage with the community of faith. That will completely wreck your progress toward living an ungrateful life. It will ruin everything you are working toward.


If you believe that gratitude is an essential element of Christian discipleship, you might now be offended or disappointed, despite the fact that this post was written in jest. If you are offended, might I suggest another read? Just kidding. Maybe.

Gratitude is so important and really quite simple. Yet, many of us are, I think, easily and often taken aside to other viewpoints besides thankfulness. To be thankful certainly does not mean to ignore the painful realities of our lives. But it does require an intentional and frequent choice to remember that whatever is bad in the world, God’s goodness remains. Whatever hardships we endure, God is faithful. No matter who lets us down, there are people who don’t. 

It’s entirely appropriate to take a day and set it aside to be a nationally-observed occasion for thankfulness. It is even more necessary to adopt a gratitude-soaked perspective as a way of life for the sake of relationships, our mental health, and the vitality of our faith.

I wish, hope, and pray a joy-filled, blessed Thanksgiving for you and everyone you love.