Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Are you prepared to take a break from complaints and anxiety, from requests and supplications, and to give God your untainted, unmitigated gratitude?

Yes, I know the world is going through yet another period where everyone is all too aware that violence and tragedy may strike at any time. Yes, I’m well aware that no one’s finances, schedule, health, relationships, and everyday “happenings” are quite as “perfect” as we might hope–and that many have problems in one or more of these areas that seem beyond human solution. Yes, I myself fall short of the “give thanks, don’t grumble” ideal virtually every day.

Nonetheless, it behooves us to develop the habit of being grateful for God’s blessings on a daily basis. Every time we focus on what we dislike, we take a step toward becoming surly spoiled brats who refuse to believe that God is good. Every time we look at the good and thank God for it, we take a step toward becoming Christlike, humble, joyful saints. Which goal would you prefer to achieve?

However many legitimate concerns one may have, there is really no excuse for letting “life stinks” thoughts take over, and no benefit in it either; if anything, such thoughts lower the chances of things improving. I quote from Ann Voskamp, author of Ten Thousand Gifts, who has known the gamut of life from tragedy to happiness to pain to anxiety to breathtaking beauty: “Eucharisteo [thanksgiving] always precedes the miracle.” And, “The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” And one more, “When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”

If you need any help finding blessings to count, try categorizing them:

Physical. Maybe you aren’t in perfect health or as tall, blonde, or strong as you wish you were: but are you blessed with working arms or legs, eyes or ears? What about that marvelous neurosystem we call the brain, or the blood flowing constantly to deliver nutrients and oxygen to every cell? Aren’t you, yourself, one of God’s greatest miracles?

Relational. Consider your family, friends, even your pets. Few mortal blessings are greater than the presence of living companionship and support.

Material. Why feel cheated for lack of a twenty-room mansion? A home with running water and electricity and a warm bed at night is more than many people have. What about food, clothing, and transportation: don’t you have more than you need there? What about the very computer you’re reading this on?

Educational and vocational. Shouldn’t you be grateful for being to read at all, for the education that taught you, for the access to information that flows freely? And if you’re tempted to complain because you don’t have the perfect job, consider how blessed you are to live in a society where you’re free to choose where you work.

Societal. For all the concerns we hear about the “secularizing of America,” we can still be thankful for having freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to voice our opinions.

Spiritual. Finally, consider all that God has already done to give you hope for the future. I believe it was Max Lucado who said, “If God had done nothing for you but save you from hell, that would be enough.” Actually, God gives more than this to even the poorest and most persecuted Christian: He gives the Holy Spirit for guidance, the strength for endurance, the opportunity and the spiritual gifts to work for the greatest glory.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share what blessings you are grateful for. Remember, sometimes the ones we take for granted are the greatest!

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Jo Swank

     /  November 20, 2015

    Amen! God bless you, Kathy!
    Peace, Jo

    Reply
  2. I’m thankful for too many things to list but your prayers and posts are among them. Thanks.

    Reply

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