Tuesday, October 8
Eight tiny truths about thankfulness and thanksgiving—
There is no room for discontent in a grateful heart. More than an inventory of the good things in our lives, thankfulness every day is a safeguard against bitterness, anger, and envy.
Philippians 4:6-7—Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Thank yourself from time to time. It is okay to be good to yourself and express gratitude for what you are able to do for yourself, your family, your parish, and community. You are a gift from God, redeemed by Christ, and powered by the Holy Spirit. That in itself is a major something to be thankful for.
Ephesians 2:10—For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
See with a light heart. In life, not everything is what it seems. Instead of seeing other’s shortcomings or the challenges of a specific situation, let your faith help you recognize the blessings and joys that are sometimes hidden to us by our propensity to see darkly. Let your heart light, as in joyful, and light, as in bright with God’s love for others and for yourself.
2 Corinthians 5:7—For we live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see.
If you cannot find joy in certain circumstances, look for purpose. There are times when it seems there is little to be thankful for, but even the smallest bright spot can fire our imaginations to see a reason and a way to move forward.
2 Corinthians 2:14—But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
Thankfulness is a recognition of dependence.“God loves a cheerful giver” and “it is better to give than to receive” have entered into common vernacular, but are biblical in origin. Being able to accept gifts with grace is a sign of a self-assured and humble spirit, and it affords others the opportunity to be manifestations of God’s love.
Corinthians 9: 15—You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
The more you choose gratitude, the easier it gets. Learning to notice good things sometimes takes effort, but like any habit or exercise, it becomes ingrained and easier with repetition.
Luke 6:38—Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Thanks and action go together. When we take stock of our blessings, we can then use our gratitude to power generosity and care for others, and we become an exponential expression of Christ in the Gratitude feels good, but acting on it feels even better.
John 6:11-13—Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
The time for thanksgiving is always now. Don’t confine your expressions of gratefulness or generosity to a single day or season. Yes, there is a “ a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens,” but if we fill our lives and hearts with gratitude every day, we give less time and space for negative emotion and more energy for being God’s hands and feet in the world.
2 Corinthians 4:15—All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Grateful for the Giver
Lord, as I participate in the all-too-consuming activities that require my attention today, I pray that I would not lose sight of You.
Give me this day a heart of gratitude.
Give me a heart of gratitude which looks beyond my appreciation
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always
thankful for the Giver
thankful for the One who has provided
thankful for the One who, unlike His gifts, will never fade away.
Give me a heart of gratitude which refuses
to surrender to frivolous complaint,
to seek more than you have given,
to succumb to the annoyances and frustrations of this world.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is so filled with thanksgiving that worry and concern have no room.
Give me a heart of gratitude which remembers you as the present Giver who is my refuge and my portion.
Give me a heart of gratitude which cries out thanksgiving and praise even in the midst of anguish, pain, and frustration.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is capable of love, hope, and peace despite the tensions, hurts, and foolishness of this world.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always Yours. Amen.
-Dr. James Spencer (The D.L. Moody Centre)