“Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect”—Ephesians 5:4 (MSG).
As I write this, election day is still four days away. I, for one, will be glad when it’s over. I pray that those who have spewed hatred across the airwaves, on social media and through other means of communication will be able to step back and give thanks, whether their candidate won or lost.
True followers of Christ know that we’ve won, no matter who is in the Oval Office. While our country isn’t perfect, I’d rather live here than anywhere else. I’ve visited foreign countries. I’ve seen the oppressed and the poor that make our poorest appear rich in comparison.
Give thanks to the Lord!
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul writes, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Paul’s reminder is as relevant today as it was when he wrote his epistle to the Thessalonians.
What does it mean to live a life of giving thanks? It’s a life permeated by a grateful heart that overflows to others. It’s a life marked by contentment. Although we seem to have more, we enjoy life less. We work harder to accumulate more, but on the whole we’re not happier. We entertain the notion that we’re entitled to more, which leads to a life of discontent.
Our discontent also leads to a generation of children who follow our example. Have you heard the expression “values are caught, not taught?” We must be the role model of thankfulness.
Only when we seek a life of simplicity will we find true joy, contentment and gratitude for what God has already provided. Christian theologian, Richard J. Foster said, “While Christians should live simply, the focus should not be on getting rid of what we have, but rather upon cultivating the disposition of a life of joyful unconcern for possessions.”
How can we give thanks with a truly grateful heart? How can we stir the embers of gratitude when we’re caught up in futile thoughts, whining and complaining because we have not?
Author Madalene Harris said, “I learned that if I waited to feel grateful, nothing happened. It took sheer determination to stay on course when I didn’t feel like it. However, as I persisted, genuine gratitude welled up within my heart.”
Here are some practical tips I found in a book titled “Words to Live by for Women,” to help you find the beauty in thankfulness:
- Write down a dozen things that fill you with gratitude.
- Record a moment when you know you met God today.
- Read aloud some of the thanksgiving chapters in the book of Psalms.
- Begin a thankfulness journal.
- Offer thanks to God for His goodness, even when nothing positive seems to be happening, as a declaration of trust.
And, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).