Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why Not Be Thankful?

by Tim Howard 

Next week many families and friends will gather for a Thanksgiving Day celebration. Our country has set aside one day on our calendar each year to remind us of the importance of giving thanks.  One day to press the pause button and say: THANK YOU GOD for all you have done.

Among many statements found in the Bible about thanks and praise, David said in Psalms. 92:1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.”

It’s good because it opens the door for a heart of gratitude to grow within each of us. Giving thanks is something you say and do but gratefulness is a condition of the heart. An Attitude of Gratitude flourishes when life is lived with thankfulness.

Not only that but it replaces the ugly sounds of criticism, sarcasm and complaining with the reverberation of joy, hope and appreciation. Granted, there’s much to complain about but when you realize over half the world earns less than $2.00 a day; no more than 5% of the world population owns a home and the majority don’t have a car to drive, maybe we have more to be thankful for than we realize.

People who complain and criticize continually are not fun to be around. Thankful people, however, bring a fresh perspective because they are content with what they have and don’t worry about the things they have yet to obtain. They bring joy because they choose to fill their mouths with praise rather than complaints. They create an atmosphere of levity because they accentuate the positive. A grateful heart expressed through thankful words and demonstrated with acts of love will change the atmosphere around you.

Jesus asked a very important question worth answering when he was on his way to Jerusalem. The narrative is found in Luke chapter 17. It was the time he healed ten people stricken with leprosy.  He spoke a word of healing and here’s what happened:  “And as they went on their way, the leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done… Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where is the other nine?

Maybe the nine didn’t return because they failed to realize the part Jesus played in their healing. Why give thanks to God when it was just lucky or happenstance? Failing to realize God’s involvement stifles thanksgiving.

Then again, maybe they were so caught up in the present moment and their new found health they simply forget the goodness of God.

It’s easy to lose a spirit of thanks at any time. Especially when you experience hurricane type winds and huge amounts of rainfall that creates flooding like the recent experiences of those on the East coast.

Whatever the case may be, Romans 1:21 reveals what happens when people fail to give thanks: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their views of life, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Thanksgiving will blow the clouds of darkness away and keeps the lights on. Only then will you see life through positive lenses.

As I approach Thanksgiving Day next week, I’m going to invite family and friends to enjoy a common meal. I plan to give every person the opportunity to give thanks to the Lord. As you celebrate, why not give thanks? 

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