Thanksgiving has come and gone before I could even get a chance to blog about it. Well...not really, because in my mind, Thanksgiving is one of those true character traits that we as Christians should walk in daily. This year I was privileged to have been asked to speak at my brother-in-law's church the Sunday after Thanksgiving. As I prayed about what to speak, the Lord started showing me what I call stepping stones to freedom.
Imagine with me, if you will, a stream with water swiftly flowing over rocks. The stream represents life. On the other side of the stream is a place of freedom.
Think of a time when something good happened to you in this journey we call life. Were you glad? That's probably like asking if the grass is green! Of course you were glad! So, now something good has happened, and you have taken a step on one of the rocks called "glad"in the stream of life. If you are just glad, that is as far as you are going. How do you get to the next step? By being thankful.
When you go beyond just being glad something good happened to you, you will then be thankful to someone for that blessing and acknowledge your appreciation to him/her for the blessing you. Even if a person blessed you, ultimately God is the source of every good thing (See James 1:17). Thank God that He has prompted someone to help you and that they obeyed the leading of the Lord! So now you are in the middle of the stream of life on the stone called "thankful". Actually, this step was a big step! Let's say you are almost to the other side to reach freedom.
You are almost to the other side, but you are still in the stream. What is the next step that will get us in reaching distance of the shore? I believe it is a stone called "grateful". "Grateful" is an adjective describing one who has "gratitude". When I looked up gratitude on my computer's dictionary, it said, "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness" (© 2005–2009 Apple Inc.). When you get to this stone, you will then experience a desire to return kindness, not just to whomever blessed you, but to others as well. You will thank God for the blessings and seek Him for ways in which you can bless others. You will then find out that it is truly "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). That brings you to the other side where you can walk in freedom as you forget about focusing on your own needs and allow God to work through you to meet the needs of others.
Oh yes! Lord, thank You for the good things in my life! Thank you that even when trials come, there is good, because You are with me to see me through! Remind me to take the step beyond being thankful to being grateful. Thank You in advance for the opportunities you will give me to be a conduit of your unconditional love to others. What a joy to see them start the journey to freedom with me!