As we again approach the Thanksgiving holiday it should remind us all that we need to stop and consider how richly blessed we are. Not only that, but we should also be grateful to the giver of “every good and every perfect gift,” which is none other than God (James 1:17).
Of course, in every life there will be heartache to accompany the blessings. But if we are really honest with ourselves we would have to say that the blessings are far more numerous. Hence, we need to be thankful!
Developing a thankful disposition, though, is not based on how much we have or how we might feel at the moment. Being thankful is more of a perspective on life. A good example of this is found in the life of the author and commentator, Matthew Henry. When he was an old man he once was a victim of robbers. Naturally it was an unnerving experience, but the old gentleman seemed to take it in stride.
That night, before he went to bed, he made an entry of the ordeal in his journal. He also added these introspective words:
Let me be thankful: first, because I was never robbed before;
second, because although they took my purse, they did not take
my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much;
and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
What a tremendous attitude! What a perspective! What an insight into real thanksgiving! Even in adversity we must remember that there is still much for which to be thankful. It reminds me of the little book of Philippians. There we learn that Paul is writing to the Christians at Philippi while he is a prisoner at Rome. We might think that he would be singing the blues about being bound and mistreated. Yet, to the contrary, the very theme of the book is “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). He too had the right perspective on life.
So, during this time that we know as “Thanksgiving,” remember that regardless of what you have or the circumstances of your life right now, there is something for which you can be thankful. For over a hundred years Christians have been singing the words, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.” There are a lot of us who could do much better at putting these words into practice!
Paul penned: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Happy Thanksgiving!