Another Perspective Of Thanksgiving

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In just a few days, a lot of us will be getting together with family and friends to celebrate the wonderful national holiday we know as Thanksgiving. Just the mention of the word is about all we need to make our mouths start watering. I hope that we will appreciate the rich blessing of the food as much as we appreciate the rich taste. 

The very idea of “thanksgiving” usually suggests that we have a grateful heart for the good things that have come (and continue to come) our way- - as well we should. However, you may feel that not a lot of good has come your way lately. Hence, there is another way of looking at “thanksgiving” that I want us to take a moment to consider.

Recorded in Acts chapter five is an account of the apostles getting in trouble with the Jewish authorities for teaching about Christ. Verse forty informs us they were “beaten and commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus.”

I have never known of any beating to be pleasurable and the kind of thrashing they received would have been worse than most of us have ever experienced. But note that the very next verse tells us that the apostles found it an occasion to give thanks! Why? The text says because “they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).

The principle that we learn here is that thanksgiving often involves “perspective.” The apostles could not give thanks (at the moment) for what they had received, but they were thankful for what they were able to give; namely, the giving of themselves to the glory to God.

Not everything in life will bring you and me the greatest pleasure, but if our lives still magnify God, then we can be thankful. The apostle Paul made that very point when he spoke of his own sufferings. He told the Corinthians, “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).

God has promised that He will eventually reward us for any sacrifice that we might make for His cause (cf. Matthew 19:29). Therefore, everyday can be a day of thanksgiving- - regardless of what happens- - as long as we hold the right perspective.