“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
When I was younger my mother taught me the importance of saying please and thank you. It was drummed into me. Even when I couldn’t figure out why my Nana gave me six tea-stained coasters; I still said thank you. But saying thank you and being thankful aren’t the same thing. Some people have the best of manners, they always say thank you, but they’re not thankful. Thankfulness is feeling gratitude – it’s taking pleasure in something – it’s being appreciative – it’s how you view life – it’s about your attitude.
Despite all we have, we sometimes forget to be thankful. Rather than being grateful, we sometimes act as if we had a right to far more. If you act as if you deserve more – shame on you! If you’re reading this blog I’m 99 percent sure you have all your basic needs met. You have shelter, food, clothes, medical care, a tablet/computer/phone, and basic human rights. You have much for which to be thankful.
God wants us to be thankful. His Word says, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT).
“. . . always be thankful . . .” Is it possible? When you wake up but don’t want to get up, when your arthritis flares up, the price of gas goes up, your skin dries up, you eat something and want to throw up, the washing piles up, the neighbour’s stuck up, the funeral arrangements are paid up, and your daughter doesn’t show up . . . When you’re up to your eye-balls in the heavy duty stuff of life, is it possible to still be thankful? Yes! You may have every reason to be fed up, but it’s still no excuse to give up.
There’s always something to be thankful for – always some way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It’s a matter of perspective. It depends on how you choose to look at your circumstances. And it’s a matter of pride. It depends on whether or not you’re prepared to ask God to help you see life through His eyes – not your eyes; and engage life with His strength – not your strength.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!” Psalm 107:1 (NLT). Mark Tidd of Webster, New York, tells how an old man showed up at his back door one day. The old man’s eyes were glassy and his furrowed face glistened with silver stubble. In his hand was a wicker basket with a few unappealing vegetables. He said, “Good morning,” and offered his produce for sale. A quick purchase was made out of pity and fear. A week later the old man returned. He introduced himself as Mr. Roth, the man who lived in the shack down the road. Looking closely, Mark realised it wasn’t alcohol but cataracts that marbleised Mr. Roth’s eyes . . . A friendship began . . . When Mr. Roth would visit, he’d shuffle in wearing two mismatched right shoes, pull out a harmonica, and puff out the old gospel tunes between conversations about vegetables and religion. On one visit he exclaimed, “The Lord is good! This morning I found a bag full of shoes and clothes on my porch.” “That’s wonderful. We’re happy for you,” said Mark. “You know what’s even more wonderful?” asked Mr. Roth. “Just yesterday I met some people who could really use them.”
Now that’s thankfulness – that’s an attitude of gratitude . . .