The guy was obviously down in the mouth as he sat on the park bench. He was so depressed looking that a policeman who was patrolling the area sat down and sought to console him. “Something the matter?” asked the policeman of the young man who was staring into space. “Yeah,” he said, “You just wouldn’t believe it. Two months ago my grandfather died, and left me $85,000 and some oil wells.” The policeman raised his eyebrows and responded, “That doesn’t sound like something to get upset about.” “Yeah, but you haven’t heard the full story yet. Last month my uncle died and left me $150,000.” The policeman shook his head in bewilderment. “I don’t understand,” he said. “Why are you sitting here looking so unhappy?” The guy responded, “So far, this month, not a cent.”
Some people are like that. They think the world owes them a living, or that God owes them a favor. They never seem to be happy with what they have. They never seem to be content. They write their blessings in the sand, and engrave their grievances in cement. They tend to forget the bad times during the good times, and in doing so they overlook God’s past faithfulness (Deut. 8:11-14). They tend to forget the good times during the bad times, and in doing so they charge God with not caring (Job 2:10). They spent little time looking for the silver lining in the cloud. They spent little time savoring the small, and steady blessings of life. They spent little time remembering what they have forgotten about God’s goodness and mercy across their lives. They spent little time evaluating the worth of their soul to God, and the preciousness of their blood bought salvation. They never have enough because they spend their days looking at what they do not have, and overlooking what they do have.
Psalm 103 acts as a counterbalance to such ingratitude and forgetfulness. In this psalm, David by example and exhortation calls us to count our blessings, and name them one by one, so that we might be surprised afresh at what the Lord has done. David wants to be an instrument of praise with all the stops pulled out (Psa. 103:1, 22). To that end he cultivates a spirit of thanksgiving through intentional reflection (Psa. 103:2). Thinking and thanking go hand in hand. Memory is a handmaiden to worship. In this psalm, David encourages himself and us to do three things. First, we are to think about what God has given us (Psalm 103:1-5); salvation, health, protection, and many good things! Second, we are to think about what God has not given us (Psalm 103:8-12). He has not rewarded us according to our sins. Third, we are to think about what God is still to give us (Psa. 103:17; 73:23-24). God’s mercy is everlasting and will carry us through the very gates of heaven. Be thankful for what God has given you, and not given you!