An Attitude of Gratitude
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."1
Today, in the U.S.A. is Thanksgiving Day. But sad to say, while many millions will give thanks to God for His incredible blessings bestowed on this nation, millions more will decry the God who made America possible and in whose belief this nation was built.
There is a legend about two angels who were sent to earth to gather up the prayers of men. One was to fill his basket with the petitions of mankind. The other was to gather their prayers of thanksgiving. Sometime later they went back to the Father's house. One had a basket heaped high and running over with the innumerable petitions of men. The other returned with a heavy heart, for his thanksgiving basket was almost empty.
Unfortunately, when praying, many of us are like kids who write to
Santa Claus. For instance, some years ago it was reported in the Chicago Daily News how "a postal employee opened and read the mail which came to the Dead Letter Office in Washington addressed to Santa Claus. In the three months before Christmas, there were thousands of letters asking for something. In the months after Christmas, there was only one card addressed to Santa Clause thanking him. How quick we are to ask and receive. How slow we are to speak the magic word—thanks."
At the same time, I realize that it can be very difficult to be
thankful when things go bad and life becomes an uphill battle. However, as the Scriptures remind us, we need to find a way to be thankful in our situation, not necessarily for it. Trials, difficulties and disappointments make some people bitter and disgruntled. Others see them as an opportunity to take stock of their life and as an opportunity to grow. As the old saying goes, trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. The choice is ours.
May we all on this day, in the words of the anonymous poet, give thanks to God for the following poem:
I Now Give Thanks
For every hill I've had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and sweat and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat
My heart sings but a grateful song –
These were the things that made me strong!
For all the heartaches and the tears,
For all the anguish and the pain,
For gloomy days and fruitless years,
And for the hopes that lived in vain,
I do give thanks, for now I know
These were the things that helped me grow!
'Tis not the softer things of life
Which stimulate man's will to strive;
But bleak adversity and strife
Do most to keep man's will alive,
O'er rose-strewn paths the weaklings creep,
But brave hearts dare to climb the steep.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a thankful heart and help me always to have an attitude of gratitude for all Your blessings You have given to me. And I especially thank You for giving Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins so I can be fully forgiven and receive Your gift of eternal life. In thanksgiving for giving Your life for me, Jesus, I surrender my heart and life to You. Please, for Your glory, make me usable and use me to be a part of what You are doing in the world in which I live. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV).