Why Thanksgiving Matters

Posted: November 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
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In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

Holy Scripture has relatively few verses that say directly “this is the will of God for you.”  Can you think of more than a handful?  I seriously doubt it. So this must be pretty important.

I am personally convinced that gratitude (along with trust and obedience) are the primary markers of discipleship in the heart of a follower of Jesus Christ. Am I growing in trust? Am I growing in obedience? Am I growing in gratitude?

I don’t think it is an accident that our culture has chosen this weekend out of all the weekends in the year to focus us on Black Friday and it’s potential for cultivating envy, discontent, competition and the accumulation of stuff. But to keep this short this Thanksgiving morning, let me simply offer 3 reasons that I believe thanksgiving (with a small t)…or gratitude…is essential.

1. Gratitude takes my focus off myself onto another. No man or woman is an island. We are dependent on others and the Lord. To believe otherwise is delusional and dangerous. Gratitude returns me to a sane starting point.

2. Gratitude is an antidote to my pride. Pride is the temptation to believe I am the source, the self-sufficient one, the one who knows and can accomplish all that is needed. It’s a destructive, even damning lie and the antidote is gratitude.

3. Gratitude is an antidote to my sense of entitlement. My sinful nature easily moves me to focus on what I think I deserve, my “rights”, a reducing of my relationships to transactions and “how people can help me” instead of “how can I love them.”

Gratitude strikes at the very heart of entitlement’s cousins – comparison and envy. It reminds me that I am not the source…of anything!. And it moves me from the myopic selfishness of focusing on myself to focusing on others and ultimately on our Creator. When I practice gratitude I discover joy, contentment, peace. I discover that others find me easier to live with. I discover that my heart begins to change.

I am thankful for Thanksgiving and a national holiday that invites us to respond to the love and mercy of Christ with the baby steps of saying thank you!

What are you thankful for today?

Comments
  1. Joyce Teich says:

    Thank you for reminding me of God’s command of thankfulness. Thankfulness transforms us and draws us closer to God completely changing our perspective and bringing us peace.

  2. Scott Lewis says:

    Gratitude lowers self and lifts up God. Gratitude is a pure act of worship & praise. Gratitude places proper focus on where it should be. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours. Thankful for you all.

  3. Lawrence Lowe says:

    I totally agree with you. We all should strive to have an attitude of gratitude. I also believe you are right about the Spiritual battle going on.

  4. Linda Hrncir says:

    Thanks for the reminder Hal.

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