If I’m honest, I’m not a very thankful person. My personality lends itself to seeing what is not taking place and my upbringing helped me to be dissatisfied with jobs done poorly or things left undone. I don’t say any of that with pride. It’s a constant opportunity for God’s transforming work in me.
So what passages has the Holy Spirit used to help recalibrate my soul in terms of considering my personal thanksgiving quotient?
First, these words from Paul to the brothers and sisters in Thessalonica:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).
At the time, Paul had been run out of town in his first visit, hardly an “all circumstances” most of us would have found thanksgiving in! If there is really a possibility that I can respond in with joy always, and can be thankful in all circumstances, it challenges me to increasingly grab ahold of Jesus and trust Him to change me.
Hopefully we don’t relegate our personal thanksgiving to one day a year, when we carve turkeys, remember Pilgrims, and watch BCS deciding football games!
A second passage comes from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, just up north of these other friends. They encourage me to remember the innumerable blessings of God in my life… and not just on Thanksgiving!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8,9 NIV).
Interesting that Paul once again brings this theme of right, hopeful thinking to his friends’ attention towards the end of one of his letters.
Enjoy the day – including the turkey and football!