I was always taught that the "original sin," the big one that got everyone kicked out of the Garden, was rebellion--the First People's refusal to obey God, one big fist-shake at God's authority. In Sunday's Bible study, though, we considered another option: that the first Big Sin was ingratitude.
We looked at it this way: The way the story goes, Adam and Eve were blessed beyond measure. They had everything they could ever need and the tangible presence of God in a Garden that had never known the shudder of sin or the searing pain of death and loss. And so what did they do? They did what all of us do. They focused on the one thing they did not have.
That was the temptation, right? To acknowledge all of God's good gifts and to turn their attention to the one thing that God withheld and then to question His goodness and His love. It was all downhill from there. It was not so much dramatic rebellion but petty ungratefulness that put us all in this fallen world where we continue--daily--to follow in their footsteps.
Thanksgiving must be the language of the Kingdom of God. It's the starting place for shalom and the fertile soil of joy. It's the way we acknowledge that we love God at least as much as His gifts because we continue to give thanks even when we don't get what we want. I resist the idea of giving thanks for everything but I love the idea of giving thanks in everything. As we said on Sunday, I don't get a choice about whether I live my life in a broken world where hard things happen. I do get a choice about whether I live my life with gratitude or without it. I choose with.