Glen D. Cole
Most Americans look at Thanksgiving as an event, a day of festivities. But thankfulness is to be every day. It is a way of life, not an event. Someone observed that think and thank come from the same root. We need only to think in order to be thankful. Did Paul imply in Romans 1 the trend downward in morals and life-style included the sin of unthankfulness? He picked up the theme again: “In everything give thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:18) and “rejoice” always (I Thessalonians 5:16).
Look at those two statements objectively. Grumbling and complaining need to cease, not just on a certain day in November, but all year long. How we respond to the little things determines our effectiveness. Experts say that a marriage usually breaks up over little things. Life can fall apart by omitting the practice of things that should be obvious to us–something so apparent as giving thanks.
By complaining and grumbling we actually accuse God of mismanaging the daily details of our lives. Paul spoke (I Corinthians 10) of the Israelites as they wandered between Egypt and the Promised Land. He referred to a serious flaw in their behavior. “When the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it, and his anger was kindled” (Numbers 11:1).
God had parted the Red Sea for them, had brought the water back over the heads of the Egyptians, had fed them in the wilderness, had driven out their enemies before them, and had given them a token of His presence through a pillar of smoke in the day and a pillar of fire by night.
In light of all these blessings, how did they act? They complained of their diet, of the taste of the water and of giants that had arrived in the land ahead of them. They even wanted to go back into Egypt. Finally, God said not one of them would set foot in the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb would survive the wilderness years.
Are we any better? We grumble when we get up, at the breakfast table, at the red light, when things go wrong in the office, and when we come home at night. Then we get up the next day to start the routine all over again.
suggest? “In everything give thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:18). It is not a holiday; it is an attitude. If we will praise God in everything, God will walk with us and bring us out better than before.
“Rejoice evermore” (I Thessalonians 5:16) is translated, “Be always joyful!” Joy is a fruit of the Spirit Paul listed in Galatians 5.
I have a grandson by the name of Caleb. He was by my side in the car after a Sunday evening service on the way to a restaurant. Everyone was quiet until he put his cheek by mine and said into my ear, “Grandpa, I really do love you.” I felt like giving him the world. He had told me that he loved me before, but he had never used the word really until this particular night. It was special.
As we drove in silence, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Why don’t you tell God the same thing more often?” It was a sermon I shall never forget.
I choose to be a thankful, rejoicing person. It glorifies God and keeps the devil away from my doorstep.
May throughout the land there arise a cry, “I choose to be thankful. I will make thanksgiving a way of life, not just a holiday.”
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