Thanksgiving is more than a holiday; it is an action—thanks giving. Of course, everyone—saved and unsaved alike—has much to be thankful for. We all enjoy what Spurgeon called the “common mercies” of God. And most people try to practice gratitude.
2 > 4. Unless you are completely mathematically challenged, the above equation ought to bother you. After all, even second graders know that the number 4 is greater than the number 2. So let me readily admit that it’s merely a cute way for me to share a profoundly simple principle about giving thanks.
When you begin your Thanksgiving gratitude list, what do you include? Most of us probably begin with God’s gifts of salvation, family, church family, and friends. We then move to tangible gifts such as shelter, clothing, vehicle, and financial provision. If we stay at our list long enough, we add events and highlights of the past year.
Philippians 4:11 reminds us to be content in every season of life, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “Tomorrow, life will be better.” Sometimes we stew in discontentment over today, while we think things like this: “The kids will be older; they will do more for themselves; I won’t have to worry as much; or we will have more money.”
Do you know the single greatest enemy of gratitude? It’s not poverty. It’s not stinginess. It’s not mistreatment. It’s expectancy. That’s it—expectancy. We don’t often recognize the expectancy in our own hearts, because it seems so normal—so right—to us. But we can see it in others.
God’s Goodness Gives Us Many Reasons to Be Grateful
On Thanksgiving Day millions of Americans will enjoy and be thankful for a delicious meal (deep fry my turkey, please). As we prepare to dig in to the turkey, dressing, and gravy, we may express our gratitude for family and friends. Perhaps we will go around the table and share specific things for which we are thankful. Truly, we are a blessed people living in a blessed land.
Remember the Lord’s promise of blessing for obedience when making decisions about your future. Do not leave Him out of the equation of your life when deciding which path you will take. True success in life is a byproduct of obedience to His Word (Joshua 1:8).
America’s Thanksgiving tradition is a time to focus on God and His blessings on us and on our nation. In a year that has provided America with hardships and economic challenges, perhaps it is even more important to focus on God this Thanksgiving and on the good things He has provided in the midst of our difficulties.
The next six weeks are some of the busiest on the calendar. Between now and Christmas, life can easily swallow us up in a whirlwind of holiday preparation and activity. Yet, these busy weeks also hold some of the most sacred moments of the entire year…if we will intentionally look for them.
Appreciation is defined as, “recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.” The act of showing appreciation does not win souls or build churches, but it is an important virtue that must not be neglected.