On Being Thankful
A good Christian is nothing if not thankful. Our example and savior, Jesus, demonstrated his thankfulness to God through his often prayers (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; John 11:41). The psalmist wrote:
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1) “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.” (Psalm 30:4) “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4)
To see the goodness of the Lord evokes a need to praise him and thank him for his goodness. One needn’t look far to find things to be thankful for. A ship’s captain, standing on the bridge of his vessel as the sun began to peek over the distant horizon, was taken aback by the stunning colors sweeping across the sky. “Every morning it’s new; it’s always brand new” he exclaimed. As David said, “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
Over 20 years ago, upon returning from Russia, I was stunned at the beauty of my own community. The harsh Russian winter had turned everything into shades of white and gray. But when I returned home in early May I saw the beautiful colors of spring which had been hidden in Russia. What a joy to be home.
Last week as I stood on the plains of Sand Creek, Guyana I rose early and watched the sun rise over the mountains to the east. It was a beautiful sight. The simplicity and solitude of life there was a welcomed change. I was so thankful to be there and to be serving both our Lord and the people of the region. Yet, when time came to return home I was even more thankful for the sights of the USA, the safety of our trip and the faces of my family waiting for me at the airport.
But those are big things. A man would have to be hard indeed not to feel thankful in those situations. It seems that we should also be thankful for the less visible blessings. We must learn to see the hidden goodness that marks our everyday lives. Some suggestions follow.
Let us be thankful for the salvation we have in Jesus. There is no greater blessing than the liberty and freedom found in Jesus. There is also no greater reason to be thankful.
Let us be thankful for our health. Everyone has health problems – everyone. And while our problems are important to us we should remember that there is always another who suffers far worse than we.
Let us be thankful for our families. A family is a gift from God. They are often the ones who challenge us the most. But what a joy to have them!
Let us be thankful for good friends. There is a friend who is closer than a brother says Solomon (Proverbs 18:24). Having someone who always speaks truth and is devoted to your needs is a great blessing.
There are dozens more hidden blessings for which we should be thankful. Seek them out and pour your thankfulness into prayer. Give God the glory for every gift!
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.