Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many are already thinking about their Thanksgiving menu, travel plans and seeing those they love. All of those things are great, but what does God have to say about giving thanks, and how do we do that in our everyday life?
Actually, God has many things to say about giving thanks and being thankful. Our forefathers had a great picture of gratitude. They even created a holiday in our nation to show how thankful they were to be in a new land. To me, the early settlers did not have an easy life, and yet, they were very thankful.
The Bible tells us when we should be thankful, and it does not say giving thanks should only be in November.
Ephesians 5:20 states, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presents your requests to God.” (NIV)
These scriptures are clear that we should be thankful frequently, in fact, all the time, for everything and every situation.
What does that mean in our everyday life and for us when things are going wrong and are challenging? And how do we do that in every situation?
I recently fell at the gym and really hurt my leg. The pain was pretty severe, and it was difficult to walk. I did not immediately jump up and say, “Thank you, God, my leg hurts.”
This injury was not really in my plan nor at a convenient time. As I contemplated what these scriptures meant for me, I began to think of what I could be thankful for.
Moving slow definitely cramps my style; however, I can thank God for what I am going to learn in this season of my life, knowing God will work in it for my good.
I thanked God that our deductible was met and that I was able to get right in to see the doctor. I thanked God for the wisdom he gave my doctor, even though I was not happy that he said I tore my hamstring and the injury was extensive.
I realized I could thank God that it was my left leg, not my right, and I could still drive! I am thankful that the doctor said it should heal in 4-6 weeks, without surgery. Jesus paid a great price for our healing, and I am grateful He is helping me heal.
God wants us to be thankful in all things, because it is good for us. When we have an attitude of gratitude, it helps us to see what we have, instead of what we do not have. A thankful heart, adjusts our attitude and gets our focus on the positive aspects of our life.
Isaiah 51:3 says, “Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” (NIV)
This scripture shows us that thanksgiving and joy go hand in hand. It is certainly a lot more fun to be around someone who is joyful and glad, and when we are thankful, it may not change our circumstances, but it changes us.
I Thessalonians 5:18 states,
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
God knows that giving thanks is good for us.
Thanksgiving should be a lifestyle for all of us, in all aspects of our life, not just an annual holiday. Will you join me in looking for what you can be thankful for in your life?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country, a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can listen to her podcast at kathleenmaxwellrambie.podbean.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.