Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, the day we call "Thanksgiving" in America is over for this year, but thanksgiving itself needs to abound within us every day of our lives. This should be a reminder for us to show an attitude of gratitude to all with whom we come in contact. God has stirred me to thank my children more when I ask them to do something. Even though they are to obey me, because I'm their mother, it is much more pleasant for all of us if I ask them pleasantly and respond with a loving "thank you." When we stop thanking people we start taking them for granted. I certainly don't want to take them for granted! (I learned that before they ever got here when I experienced years of infertility.)
It is important to thank people in our lives, but it is even more important to thank God. He is the source of our very existence! As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:57, "Thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." When we spend that time with God in close communion, thanksgiving will automatically flow to others out of the overflow God gives us. It is a cycle: thanksgiving to God leads to thanksgiving to people which leads to thanking God for people which brings us back to God!
Focus on God keeps this thanksgiving cylce going and keeps the motives of our hearts pure. Focus on people will stop the process and choke out gratitude from our hearts. Why? Because God is pure and people are not. God is the only One who will never let us down. Even our closest friends and relatives will let us down even if they don't intend to. When we focus on people, we start dwelling on their weaknesses and how they let us down. That's when seeds of offense start to take root and bitterness begins to fester.
I received a Thanksgiving e-card that had the following scripture passage on it: Colossians 3:12-17, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Notice verse 13 says that we must forgive. We have to if we want that cycle of thanksgiving, that brings peace and joy, to keep going. Hopefully Thanksgiving was a time that reminded us to do a gratitude check. This passage tells us a list of things to "put on" that will encourage gratitude. If while we do our post-Thanksgiving check we find more offense than thanksgiving, we may need to go up a few verses and find out what we have to "put off" before we can "put on" all the good stuff! I'll let you do that for yourself. The whole chapter of Colossians 3 is rich with awesome nuggets of gold! Happy mining!!