Dr. Doug Posey
When despair tries to take me under...I choose life.
When I wonder what God could possibly be thinking...I choose trust.
When I desperately want relief from unrelenting reality...I choose perseverance.
When I feel oppressed by my disappointment and sorrow...I choose gratitude.
—Author Carol Kent, A New Kind of Normal
The giving of thanks is an acquired habit. We carefully train our kids to politely show gratitude when they receive a gift or compliment with the seemingly endless reminder, “Now, what to you say?” Finally, at some point, for most kids, it becomes their normal practice. But not without first being sold to them as being among the “magic words.” Still, ultimately the giving of thanks is a choice—a choice that is much more than saying the “magic words.” Thanksgiving flows from your perspective of life. Some would say thanks for the very same things that would cause others to complain. It’s a matter of perspective. Bestselling Christian author and pastor, Max Lucado shares this about perspective...
“I discovered the importance of healthy counsel in a half-Ironman triathlon. After the 1.2 mile swim and the 56 mile bike ride, I didn't have much energy left for the 13.1 mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. I asked him how he was doing and soon regretted posing the question.
‘This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I've ever made.’ He had more complaints than a taxpayer at the IRS. My response to him? ‘Goodbye.’ I know if I listened too long, I'd start agreeing with him.
I caught up with a 66-year-old grandmother. Her tone was just the opposite. ‘You'll finish this,’ she encouraged. ‘It's hot, but at least it's not raining. One step at a time...don't forget to hydrate...stay in there.’ I ran next to her until my heart was lifted and my legs were aching. I finally had to slow down. ‘No problem.’ She waved and kept going.”
(Max Lucado, Facing Your Giants [W Publishing Group, 2006], p. 65)
So, whose perspective would you rather have? For some, a life of thanksgiving comes more naturally than for others. Role models, health, experiences, associates, religious orientation and maturity are just a few things that can affect whether we live with gratitude or grumbling. But none of those things are excuses not to be thankful.
In America, we celebrate the holiday called Thanksgiving. For many it is just a word that means time with family and lots (and lots) of food. Some are truly thankful, but they have no clue as to whom. Oddly, feeling “thankful” seems enough.
For the Christian, thanksgiving is obviously more than an American holiday. The Bible has much to say about it and never once mentions turkey, cranberry sauce, or even stuffing! For us it is a lifestyle; a lifestyle we must choose, everyday, even those days not capped off with pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
Regardless of the circumstances, consider what we have in Christ. Not just the temporal things, though those may be plentiful. But, we have forgiveness of sins, through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. So, we can be like the Apostle Paul, who clearly expressed the most thankfulness of all the writers in the Bible, despite his immense amounts of suffering for the Gospel. On Thanksgiving, and always, let’s choose to give, “…thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20).
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name” ─PSALM 100:4