Can you remember someone you met that was genuinely thankful? You know the person I am talking about, the person who has peace and joy and they just lost their job. The woman who has only enough food for her family but has a genuine smile on her face when she asks you how “SHE” can help you. The starving child who is filled with joy and thanksgiving for the one meal he receives for the entire day. The parent who receives the news their child doesn’t have a tumor. The woman that is told her cancer is in remission. The husband and wife who reconciled and now their marriage is restored. The new parents hear the Doctor say, “your baby is healthy.” A wife hears from the nurse her husband made it through open heart surgery and is resting in the recovery room. Your neighbor shares with you that someone paid their rent anonymously.
All these examples are of people that are truly thankful. Thankfulness compels us to action. Out of our abundance we bless others with no strings attached. Thanksgiving opens a place in our hearts to see others above ourselves. It opens our eyes and gives us a fresh new perspective without changing our circumstances. Thankfulness has power that fuels love into action.
Thankfulness is free. It doesn’t waste time. It doesn’t need help. It doesn’t steal your energy or your resources. Thankfulness can’t be manipulated, twisted or coerced. Thankfulness is real, genuine, and pure. It comes from the Lord and it’s a gift we cannot create within ourselves. When thankfulness is witnessed by others it’s contagious and it spreads faster than any disease.
Today I want to talk about being thankful for things that seem bad, things that seem hurtful or painful. Are there things that have happened in your life that seemed impossible, but now you are thankful for? This year I would like us to change our way of thinking about thankfulness. It is easy for me to see the negative in everyday circumstances. My natural desire is to gravitate to the pessimistic attitude but I want to change that. So I have a challenge for you and for me this year.
Everyday we have several opportunities to react positively or negatively to our circumstances. So starting today from this moment on until the end of the year my challenge to us is when we are faced with life situations that are: stressful, negative, unfair, hard, trying, or not planned, we would on purpose find at least one thing we can be thankful for about that
circumstance. For example: yesterday my truck battery died and as many of you know we have had lots of problems with this vehicle we just purchased a few months ago. I immediately started to think about all the things that had went wrong with it but then I stopped myself and said out loud, “God I am thankful for this truck please give me patience.”
In order to change our thinking we have to take action and do it over and over again until it becomes our natural reaction. This thanksgiving instead of saying the normal things we are thankful for: family, health, food, house etc… think back about the difficult times this last year and find one example in each situation you are thankful for. Let me know if your willing to take this journey with me, I believe it will change our lives and those around us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.