As many Americans gather with family and/or friends for a big meal tomorrow, many will be asked to state what they are thankful for. Many, unprepared for such, might stutter and stammer and say they are thankful for their family or for the cranberry relish or their dog or whatever. Now these are valid and in many cases honorable things to be thankful for, they are probably even heartfelt. But, that we stutter and stammer may mean we have to think about something we have not thought of to date. Which leads me to the question. Why are we not more thankful more often?
Perhaps if we made a more regular practice of being thankful, we might have better outlooks on life in general. Paul said to “give thanks in all circumstances;” (1 Thess. 5:18a) he did not say give thanks for everything. The idea is to look to God and be thankful. In his very recent book on prayer, Tim Keller exclaims: “It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances.” (Keller. Prayer, p. 19) Paul’s emphasis is the inner life and that if we focus on it, the outer life will take care of itself. This is how he can say “give thanks in all circumstances.” If we are viewing the circumstances of life filled by and strengthened by Christ living in us, we have much to be thankful for.
So, take a moment and give thanks. Not sure for what? Your heart is beating, right? You just took a breath didn’t you? Did you have to plan either of those? Someone taught you to read didn’t they? Or is this being read aloud to you? If so, be thankful for that person. Look around, in the midst of the pretty awful stuff that is going on, we really do have much to be thankful for, especially those of us who already have Christ in us.
In everything, give thanks.