Why is it that gratitude only gets one day a year? Thanksgiving is a great holiday for us to remember our heritage as a nation and be thankful for all that God has done. I appreciate that we have a day off of work to spend with family and focus on our blessings. But, if thankfulness is only one day a year then we have sorely missed the heart of God.
1 – Be Thankful Always – One of the central figures of the early church wrote this, “give thanks always”. Paul was a pastor and a church planter who knew pain and suffering. In fact his encouragements of joy and thankfulness were written during his wrongful imprisonment. Paul had plenty of circumstances to be grumpy about, angry over, bitter even! However, moved by the heart of God, Paul was able to write that thankfulness must be an ongoing characteristic. We must be thankful every day, not just one day a year.
2 – Be Thankful For Everything – Are you thankful for pain? As Job once said, “Shall we not also take the bad with the good?” Bad things happen, but bad things don’t have to end bad. God works around the clock to redeem the mess, the broken, the hurt, the pain, and the loss into something good. Many people distrust God’s goodness amidst their pain and loss and chose to give up on hope. Pain can be the purify work our soul needs. Brokenness is often the currency of communion with Jesus. Good is great but sometimes hardship is best. Do you believe that hardship can shape and mold you into the beautiful and strong person God created you to be? Be thankful for even the hardest things in your life right now.
3 – Do Thankfulness – It’s easy to think that thankfulness is just a noun. You might be caught up in thinking that being thankful is merely a verbal recognition of things you like but gratitude is meant to be an attitude, and attitudes should lead to action. As much as love must be a verb so must thankfulness. It’s not enough to say, “I’m thankful for all the stuff I have,” if you’re not willing to use it to bless others. You can’t just be glad your healthy or popular or rich and soak in your own glory. Thankfulness must be an active lifestyle. When you are thankful you share, you love, you serve, and you invest what you have in others. The greatest return on thankfulness is the way you live it out with those around you.
This Thanksgiving holiday is your chance to refocus your attitude of Gratitude. Think of it as a muscle. If you don’t work it out regularly it will be wimpy. When your circumstances get rough and things happen that you don’t like you’ll be prone to complain and be self focused. But if you have been exercising your thankful muscles joy will be your focus. Thankfulness as a lifestyle keeps you focused on God at work. God is always at work.
Forget football, set aside the turducken and Do Thankfulness this week. Serve. Love. Give. Share. Live it out!