thankfulness to whom? Published week of november 22, 2020
This is truly one of the most special holidays of the year. We call it Thanksgiving . . . a time of gratitude. Gratitude means different things to different people but unfortunately it is a character trait that is often absent in today’s society. Greed, selfishness, ambition and pride run rampant. The motto of the world is, “Make yourself happy.” This me-centered attitude could not be more opposite from the Gospel and is often contagious even in the Christian community.
Over the years, I have spent countless hours studying my favorite Bible character, the Apostle Paul. Paul has many attributes that ought to challenge every child of God. He had a wonderful habit of exhibiting a humble attitude of thanks to God in Christ. Throughout his New Testament letters, Paul reminded the believers he ministered to of how grateful he was for them. What strikes me, though, is that his gratitude was always directed at God and not people.
As Paul reflected on the people he loved most, he always told them, “I thank God for you.” Many times, especially on special occasions like Thanksgiving, we express our gratitude to the people we love. We call 'time out' in our lives to ponder the manifold blessings of God in our lives and say, “thank you” to other people. Maybe to a friend we write a note, email, or text message. Perhaps we update our status on Facebook or Twitter. But, to whom is our thanksgiving directed?
Certainly it is very important to remind those we love that we are grateful for them, but it is supremely important to remember from Whom these people come. Directing our thanks to the One who gives the gift ought to keep us in a posture of constant praise and humble gratitude, instead of waiting for a holiday to remind us of the good gifts He has given.
What are you thankful for and to Whom is your thankfulness directed? As you reflect on God’s greatest gifts in your life, remember Who to thank first. May that gratitude spill over into the lives of the friends and family as you celebrate.
“Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of other people in my life but thank you most that You are the One who gives me wonderful friends. I pray that You would help me to say “thank You” more often and to make these more than mere words, but also may they be the daily cry of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”