In Everything...Give Thanks
We are merely hours away from the second largest family holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. It is a time of good tidings; family connections are rejuvenated and celebrated. The anticipation of these gatherings with loved ones provides an opportunity to think of others, especially those who are less fortunate. Yet, when we take a glimpse at the more immediate violence in our cities, states, and some of our families, it gives us reason to pause.
If that is not enough to concern us about the general welfare of our being, the world stage of a “killer pandemic,” a war in Ukraine, rumors of war with North Korea, China and Russia, reflect a dooms day scenario of a possible Third World War and the fall of Democracy as we know it! (Matthew 24:6-8) The turmoil of violence and war all around us as reported daily in the media makes us feel like: “Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge; I’m trying not to lose my head! Sometimes it makes me wonder, how I keep from going under!”
Each of us may wonder, “what is it that I have to be ‘thankful for?’” However, we must encourage one another because there is much to be thankful for as we approach the holiday of thankfulness.
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
We must not be distracted by the things in this world. Distractions are a work of the evil one. We have to put on our “Spiritual Blinders”— like those horses that pull the carriages on the streets of Chicago, so as not to be spooked and run amok in fear. Focusing on the many things, both large and small that God has done for us over our lives, provides a smorgasbord of meaningful blessings. It begins with the giving of HIS Son, Jesus Christ; making it thus far in life; and the safety of our families (roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs, health and strength, being clothed in our right minds, waking us up this morning). As believers, we have been wonderfully made in the image of GOD; we have the promise of eternal life; we have an advocate, in Jesus Christ, for the forgiving of our sins. Need more be said?
If there is more needed to be encouraged, perhaps a lesson on being thankful is in order. Being thankful requires one to show humility: A kind of servant spirit, not pretentious but humble as though you are undeserving. God loves the cheerful giver. It works as well in giving thanks freely because what you’ve received did not have to happen. Finally, your thanks must be given with a grateful heart, which shows that you value the kindness and gifted blessing received.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
(I Thessalonians 5:18)
Being thankful is more than a coined expression. It requires a spirit acceptable by the giver and is inclusive of one’s selflessness. When we realize the graces inherent within our daily living, we understand there is much to be thankful for. Sometimes we have to just encourage ourselves, which gives us the strength to encourage others.
Deacon Leotis D. Swopes