I was talking recently with a small group of adults that I hold dear. We gather weekly to (in order of prominence): 1. Laugh, 2. Eat, 3. Share life, 4. Study God’s Word, & 5. Laugh some more.
We were recently talking about contentment and gratitude. We all know that Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we also all know that as Christians, Thanksgiving should be a non-event. A day to give thanks? Seriously? Do we really need to set aside a day when we shut everything down in order to give thanks? It’s a ridiculous notion that I’m all for. Why? Well…in a word: turkey. But that’s another blog.
What giving thanks does, as we discussed is…
1. It precludes & fights selfishness. Thankfulness cuts selfishness off at the knees. When I’m thankful for what I have and who I know and where I am, I’ve taken my attention off of reaching for the self-serving things that quite honestly turn me into a jerk. Greed takes my eyes off of what I already have and puts it on what I don’t. It bathes me in discontent, bitterness, and resentment toward those who have what I don’t.
2. It cultivates humility. Keeping our eyes on being grateful begs the question: “Where did that come from?” Understanding that ultimately what I have and enjoy is a gift from God puts me in the correct position of someone who is humble, not prideful.
3. It protects me from comparing myself to you. When I compare myself to others, I will end up with one of two conclusions: pride (because I decide I’m better than you, or pity (because I decide I’m not as good as you). Neither of those are things God says about me–so I ought not dare say it about myself.
4. It cheers God on. Simply put, thankfulness is our message to God to keep it coming. It recognizes His provision, His protection, and His power to give and take whatever He chooses for our lives.
In just under 2 weeks, I’m going to be sharing a message called “Thanksliving” to a large group of students. Pray for me as I convey the truth of what a thankful heart can do!