Thanksgiving brings out the best in all of us. Really it does.
We love this day, as individuals and as a nation, teaching our children to be thankful for the little things, spending intentional time noticing the blessings of life, even taking the extra step to thank those we meet along the way like the cashier at the grocery store or gas station. We love to be thankful, especially this time of year.
Thanksgiving really does bring out the best in all of us.
Saying I’m thankful is a proper response to those who have done something for us, noticing the efforts, appreciating their attitudes. We say thank you for much, like helping to load groceries, passing the potatoes, and taking out the trash. We even thank God for our food at every meal. I believe we really are thankful for these things and many more and saying thank you is a perfect response.
But saying I’m thankful and living like I’m thankful are two very different things.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. We stop. We remember. We say thank you.
Awesome. Really, it is. I love it too.
But what about the other 364 days of the year? Are we truly thankful?
I don’t believe it is a matter of always saying thank you, but living like we are thankful. Do we live like we are thankful? Really?
What do our words and our actions say about us the rest of the year? Can people tell we are thankful even when we say nothing at all?
I know, you are probably wondering what the practical application is to this. How can we really live like we are thankful?
Here is my thought: Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
Really? This is it? Not too brilliant, Kori. I hear the questions. Fear of the Lord and rest, how does that tie into being thankful?
Thanksgiving, regardless of when we experience it or to whom we express it, comes down to the One who is truly responsible – God. Proverbs comes in right here because I believe that thankfulness is expressed in the most significant way through contentment in life. It is such a rare attribute these days that it surely sets us apart from the world – displaying in very real terms the thankfulness that resides in our heart.
But to get to contentment, we must first fear the Lord. This doesn’t mean run away when He shows up or falling down in intimidation. Fear of the Lord does have to do with reverence, but a loving reverence of our God, one that creates a desire in our heart to submit to Him and His commands. This is true fear of the Lord, and this fear, as weird as it may seem, actually brings contentment, leading in turn to thankfulness.
This attitude of awe and reverence for a God who loves us so much, responding with so much love from our heart that we are content and even excited about doing the things He has called us to do and having the things He gives us, not desiring any more or any less. This is contentment. This is thankfulness. Living like we really owe our Savior our life, every day of every year, overflows into the world around us and changes not only the way we see things, but the way others see God.
This fear, contentment, and resulting thankfulness is really what Thanksgiving is all about. We are thankful to our family, friends, employers, churches. We really are thankful for what they have done for us. But at the end of the day, only One is actually responsible for every blessing dropped in our life. He is the One who saved us, from more than we could ever imagine.
So, what are you thankful for and how can we demonstrate that thankfulness every day?
I challenge us all to live every day like we really are thankful.