“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good…” (Psalm 136:1)
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the phrase “give thanks” occurs 70 times in the Bible (ESV). I knew it was there and knew the idea was present throughout Scripture but 70 times was more than I imagined. Believers are instructed by command and by example to offer thanks to God for his goodness. This is a week when the giving of thanks will be foremost in the minds of many people.
It would be wonderful if we didn’t need a special holiday called Thanksgiving. What if everyone was in a continual state of thankfulness? Can you imagine how our world would be changed if we carried an attitude of thankfulness around instead of an attitude of entitlement? It’s just a thought albeit not a very realistic one. But we do have Thanksgiving this week and we can make it a time of remembrance for all that God has given us.
Here’s my challenge to you. Beginning today, write down 25 things that you are thankful for. Then tomorrow add 25 more. Continue Tuesday and Wednesday with 25 new thanks each day. On Thursday you will have 100 individual items for thanks.
You will see pretty quickly that you have to move away from the broad categories like “I am thankful for my family” and “I am thankful for my country,” etc. You will need to be specific. Instead of my family I might say that I am thankful for Bobbi, for Isaac, Nathan and Noah and for mom. The more specific you are the greater the blessing of this little exercise.
During economic downturns we might tend to be cynical. The future may look bleak. You may feel that you have little to be thankful for. But by listing all of the things you do enjoy you will be encouraged. Remember that the material things in life are brief and wealth brings its own troubles. “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat” (Proverbs 13:8)., and “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). There are real troubles facing many people but in the midst of our struggles there is also the foundation of a loving Lord, a caring family and devoted friends. Let us be thankful for what we have.
The greatest thanks should be for our God and his Son who died so that we might live. I can live without a nice car. I’ll get by without a house in the best neighborhood. I can get along with a low paying job. Many get through life without a close family and we all move on after the passing of a loved one. But we cannot get by apart from the grace, love and mercy of our God. The prospect of eternal punishment would be too much to bear. Yet through his love we have a way of salvation. Certainly thankfulness for the spiritual blessings should top our list (Ephesians 1:3).
Let me close by telling Eastern Shore just how thankful our family is to be here. You people are so loving to us. When we arrived here about 8 and 1/2 years ago we came with fear and trepidation. Although we had heard good things we still didn’t know what to expect. I can tell you now that in those years there has never been a moment when we questioned our decision. Thank you for loving us, thank you for showing us your kindness and thank you for overlooking our deficiencies. We are all humbled to be counted first as your brethren, then your friends and then as your preacher.
Please leave a comment here on the blog and tell us what you are thankful for. We would love to know.