4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
You are probably familiar with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Do you know what’s not in that list? Thankfulness. Isn’t that interesting? God commands us to be thankful, and yet He doesn’t provide us with thankfulness. Why is that?
Merriam-Webster defines being thankful as being “conscious of benefit received”. If you’re not conscious of the fact that you’ve received a blessing, you’re not likely to be thankful for it, but if you’re aware of it, how thankful you become! So thankfulness is a choice that we can make. We can either choose to be thankful or we can choose to be entitled, meaning we believe that we deserve what we have received.
James 1:17 tells us that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” I grew up in the Presbyterian faith where we sang the Doxology every Sunday. The first line of the Doxology echoes James by saying, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” What blessings do you have in your life? You have the blessing of a God who loves you so much that He didn’t even spare His own Son in order to make a way for you to be with Him for eternity. If you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have the blessing of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you. You may have blessings such as family, friends, food to eat, a place to live, a car to drive, good health, clothes to wear, water to drink, a job. Many people don’t have those blessings, so if you have them, be thankful! Give credit to God for providing those things for you and pray for those who don’t have those blessings yet in their lives.
Here in the U.S. we are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. I won’t get to be with my family or friends this year on Thanksgiving Day (although I’ll see some of my family and friends in Georgia later in the weekend). I work a second job in a department store, so tomorrow I will have to be at work at 4:45 p.m. and I will work a 13 hour shift ending on Friday morning at 6. Wow! Lots of people would not be thankful for that, I guess, but I am. I’m grateful that God gives me the ability to work two jobs, that He provides for me lavishly through them, and that He gives me everything I need to be able to work such a long shift. I’m grateful for the customers who come in and brighten my day, and I pray that I can be a blessing to them in some small way as well. I’m grateful for my co-workers who make it fun to go to work and my managers who support me. I’m grateful to get to shine the love of Jesus to so many people as they are rushing around looking for great bargains on future Christmas gifts. I’m grateful that God has given me another day to cultivate the “attitude of gratitude” in my own heart. 🙂
Friends, I’ll ask you again: What blessings do you have in your life? Have you given thanks for them today? Please share some of your blessings in the comments below and let’s grow in our ability to praise Him for all the blessings He gives!