“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 NIV)
As we approach our national day of thanksgiving, the Scriptures remind us that the attitude of thankfulness is not to be limited to one day a year. Instead, it is to be a continual state of mind. “And be thankful.” The Bible is full of commands to give thanks and expressions of thanksgiving. Just go to any online Bible site and search “thanks,” and you can see for yourself.
This is also not a conditional command. It does not offer exceptions for when times aren’t so great or when life doesn’t go as planned. The Apostle Paul writes in another place that we should give thanks in all circumstances; in fact, that it is God’s will for us to do so (I Thessalonians 5:18). Why would that be? I think it is because being thankful puts life in perspective. How easy it is to complain about things and people, and to be enslaved to a “woe is me” attitude. There are many times where I have to go to the Lord with my “thankful for” list in order to break the pattern of complaining about things.
The reality is, if we really think about it, there is so much in life for which we can and should be thankful. The challenge is to intentionally think about them so they are fresh in our minds. So in honor of Thanksgiving, here is a list of some of the things for which I am thankful. And I will challenge you to compile a list of your own so you can better follow the command of Scripture to be thankful.
*Jesus, who by His grace and mercy took hold of a badly flawed and insecure teenager and made him into a new person, and who continues to mold me into the man He created me to be.
*My wife, who over the past 9+ years, has loved me despite all my shortcomings, and has taught me much about grace, about intimacy with God, and being patient in the midst of life’s difficulties, particularly the little ones which always seem to give me more trouble than the big ones.
*The ministry to college students the Lord has given me. What a joy to work with young people and watch them mature in the Lord in what seems to be right before my eyes.
*Our new home after a yearlong search. Thinking about the several homes we had an interest in or made offers on, I’m thankful the Lord kept us from making the wrong decision. There is no doubt this is the best home for us at this point in our lives and ministry.
*Faithful supporters. We raise nearly half of our income. For years, people have generously provided for us.
*Our washer and dryer. After spending a year without them, doing laundry at home is such a joy.
*The food and drink in our fridge and pantry. We never go hungry or thirsty.
*Our car and truck. One is about to turn 200,000 miles and the other is not far behind. But they both run well and are reliable.
*My new knee. After enduring years with a bad knee, my new one is functioning well and allowing me to do things I haven’t done in decades.
*My five senses. They all still work well (okay, my wife would disagree with me on the hearing) and allow me to experience life in such beautiful ways.
*My friends. So many in different places spanning many decades.
Now go and make your own list. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
© Jim Musser 2014