So, we are reminded at least once per year that it is good to give thanks for all that we have. Some do it reluctantly, some do it out of tradition, some do it with a heart full of gratitude, and some don’t do it at all. I think there is a reason God put in place annual events, feasts, and days of celebration, and it is because people tend to quickly forget the blessings they have. You don’t have to look very long or hard to find people that are self-righteous, selfish, and with a feeling of entitlement for all they have. Often, we don’t need to look beyond our own noses to find these people. When we give thanks to God and others on a regular basis, we tend to experience a lot less frustration with the daily things we encounter in life, but how quickly we forget. How often do you find yourself ungrateful and entitled for all the things you have?
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1
It is easy to fall into the mindset that we deserve certain things in life, because everyone else around us appears to have them. We want to have the perfect spouse, because we deserve it, and it reflects on us. We want to have good kids, because everyone else seems to have perfect kids. We want to have the best job in the world, so others will think highly of us. We want to have a respectable home and car, so we can let others know we have arrived, wherever that is. There are a lot of things we strive for because we think it reflects our self-worth and image to others. If my neighbor has something I don’t, then I think I deserve something equal or better, don’t you God? It is easy to think we deserve much of what we have in life, just because. But is there anything in life we are guaranteed, besides death and taxes?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
If you are like me, you probably have regular practices to remind yourself that none of what you have is really yours. We say a prayer before we eat to give thanks not just for the food in front of us, but for everything we have, including each other. Our 4 year old often feels entitled to pray as well, and when given the opportunity, often names off the things he hears dad say, including Mama, Dada, his siblings and some opportunities he had each day. Sure these are wrote things now, but are setting the framework for being truly thankful, despite his self-centered little 4 year old heart. Giving thanks on a regular basis also has other health benefits that we may not always realize in the short term, but that really do set the tone for our lives. What practices do you have in your life that help reset your heart toward an attitude of gratitude on a regular basis?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
So, as you gather with family, friends, or strangers this Thanksgiving, and each day of your life, give thanks to the One who gave you this life. Give thanks for those around you with whom you can celebrate. Give thanks for the different ways you can fill your belly each day. Give thanks for the ability to work at an imperfect job. Give thanks for the big things and the little things in your life. When you encounter someone with much less than your financially, physically, or spiritually, give thanks not just for what you have and they don’t, but for them and the opportunity to share what you have with them. God puts many who are less fortunate in our lives so we can be a blessing to them, just as God has been to us. Thanks for taking the time to read these words.
Yours in Christ,