It is that time of the year when we take time to count our blessings and give thanks.
And yet our ability to be thankful is often reduced to our ability to respond.
We often wait to respond with gratitude after a tragedy in the world. Gratitude for our own health comes after learning of somebody else’s illness. Gratitude should come not from that which makes us feel better. Tommy Newberry in his book the 4:8 Principle refers to this type of thanksgiving as regular gratitude.
As Christians, I believe we are called beyond the regular to what Newberry calls extraordinary gratitude. This is the type of gratitude reflected in Habakkuk (3:17-18 The Message):
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!
This type of gratitude is not based on external prompting but rather comes from within. This type of gratitude exists in spite of the circumstances and events of life.
As we reflect this day on all that we are thankful for, I am mindful of the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). I wonder what we can learn from this story? What is our response to be to God’s grace? Will we wait for something extraordinary to happen in our lives before we are grateful for God’s grace in our lives? Or will we learn to be grateful in all circumstances as we are encouraged to do in I Thessalonians :
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 5:16-18 The Message
Will we seek things to be grateful for?
Will we learn to respond in gratitude for the gift of love God has for us or will we walk away thankful that we got what we asked for?
Will we be grateful today that we can celebrate communion without fear of arrest because of the fear that others live in or will be grateful that in this moment we can worship because of God’s grace?
Ask yourself, “Is my life a life of grateful living spent in thanksgiving with the God who made me or do I live accepting and expecting all that I have?”
What if giving thanks was a natural response for each of us in all things of life?
What if our first response, or first thought, was to always return to Christ to say thank you in gratitude for what He has done in our lives and for what He has yet to accomplish?
What if we lived our lives giving and returning thanks in all things?
What if we could make Thanksgiving a daily celebration?