- Rick LoPresti
A lifestyle of thankfulness
My favorite American holiday is Thanksgiving. It is truly a "holy day" in that it is not honoring or celebrating men. It is a day to thank God. It is more than just a day to be with relatives and eat big. We should take special time out that day to thank God. Thanking God is an essential part of our relationship with Him, but too often it is overlooked. Thankfulness is not just praise, although they are related. Thanks can be general or specific. It can be for who He is and what He does. As with all things we do unto God, we benefit more than He does. Thanksgiving is something we do, but thankfulness is a state of being. It provides many blessings to its adherents:
1. It helps us overcome jealousy and bitterness.
2. It shows God we are not spoiled brats.
3. It shows God we appreciate Him. No one including God likes to be unappreciated. We should
be like the one leper of ten who came back and showed his appreciation (Lk 17:12-19).
4. It directs our focus from the bad to the good, and what we do have instead of what we don't.
5. It acknowledges that God is the source of our blessings.
6. It helps turn sorrow into joy.
7. Most importantly of all, it enhances our relationship with God.
The Israelites were constantly complaining in the wilderness (Exodus 14-32, Numbers 11-21). They did not have a lifestyle of thankfulness. They so quickly forgot all the mighty miracles God did for them, and provoked His anger. They became an example of what not to be (1Corinthians 10:10-11). We think of the book of Psalms as sweet poems of praise and thanks to God, and in some places they are. However, they also include many strong complaints. What was the difference between the Israelites in the wilderness and the psalms? In the wilderness they were complaining about God. In the psalms they were complaining to God. In other words, in the wilderness they were not praying and seeking God. They were just murmuring. In the psalms they were bringing their problems to God in prayer and worshipping Him as they did it. God does not expect us to enjoy everything that happens, but He does not want us to be empty complainers.
There is so much to be thankful for every day that we should never have a problem finding things. If for nothing else, we can thank Him for His mercy (Ps 136:1-3). Every day I am not in hell is a good day, and it is only because of His mercy. Thank you, Lord!