Many of my friends know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday season, maybe because it is the least commercialized of our Holidays, but also because it is so simple; eating a meal together, family, giving thanks to God, maybe even relaxing a little watching the Cowboys lose again. But it is also more than that, much more than that.
I think gratitude, giving thanks to God may be the purest form of worship, a path to immediate access to God. God is the giver of all good things and we are the people who choose to give God thanks. Few things can change an attitude more quickly than giving thanks to God for his blessings.
“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds save in Jesus Christ!” Philippians 4:6
In fact I believe ingratitude is a plague in this country today. We have become such a consumer culture, such a culture of more, that enough is difficult for many to give thanks for. Many seem to be determined to be miserable as they attempt to navigate a culture designed to create discontent and anxiety.
On one of my trips Rwanda we got to visit a “SUCCESS STORY” the home of a young man who had been an orphan with no future at all, dirty, diseased, alone, and lost. ZOE a program we supported that helped many orphans become independent invited us to his home, again, one of the great success stories of the program. He was in his 20s at this point and was so proud. He now lived in a mud brick home with a real doors. Doors were a big deal providing some security, a big improvement over the fields and streets he had often slept in. He had an old log on the floor as his one piece of furniture. His bed was a dirty blanket in the corner. He had a barrel full of peanuts he had personally grown in the other corner. On a shelf was an almost empty tube of Colgate toothpaste and a tooth brush with maybe 10 or 12 little pieces of brush on it. And he was so proud, because he was a success. He had food for more than one day, his own home, a bed of his own to sleep in, and toothpaste. He was rich and in need of nothing and had become a resource and model for others. He gave us and God thanks.
In our culture of ingratitude Christians are called to live in gratefulness. The one place we can find real peace.
Gratitude is an entry into God’s presence.
God is and created everything.
All we have is a gift of a generous God, a tube of toothpaste or a half a million dollar home.
We were born to give thanks, giving thanks connects us directly to God.
Ingratitude hardens the heart and separates from God and from each other.
As the Bible says, “God gives us all good things to enjoy”
If we want to have a changed heart, soul, mind, and even life, gratitude is a simple and pure door to that change. It is the foundation for a relationship with God, a foundation for prayer, a foundation for healthy relationships, and a sure trip to a happy life.
I hope for us all that this season is a real Thanksgiving.