I am going to declare each day of the month of November as set aside to acknowledge thankfulness for something in my life. Why November? Naturally, it is chosen because it is the month in which we in the U.S. A. celebrate the holiday called Thanksgiving (November 22, 2012). Today is the first day of November, so today I will begin my Month of Thankfulness. I’m sure others are doing the same–and I hope to find encouragement from them. As an added challenge, I will correspond the number of things appreciated with the number of the day of the month. So, today, I am thankful for God in my life. Today is the first day of the month; God is One. Tomorrow, I will think of two things, and so forth through the month.
What has motivated me? I am a Christian and I know that God wants me to be thankful. His Word, the Bible, instructs me in this. Two areas of Scripture come to mind immediately when I think of thankfulness. I can’t help thinking of God’s displeasure with the Israelites as they wandered in the desert after leaving bondage in Egypt: Grumble, grumble, grumble! They couldn’t see their very great blessings: God had miraculously and powerfully delivered them from slavery; God had provided food and water in a vast desert to feed the multitudes of them; and God Himself was traveling with them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them on their journey. (Read about this in Exodus.) Wow! And yet they grumbled! And what about me? God has rescued me from my bondage to sin, and the consequent death; God has blessed me with ample provisions; and God is present with me at all times, having given me His Spirit as the Counselor and Comforter. Wow! And yet, I, too, grumble, grumble, grumble! I need to change.
The second Scripture that comes immediately to mind is from Paul’s writing when he speaks of being content in all circumstances. You’ll find this in Philippinas 4:11-13. Paul says here that he has found the strength in Christ to be content even if he is suffering and has unmet needs. I think I know why Paul is able to have this view. He is focussed on “things above” (Colossians 3:1-3). How often I am bogged down with the “cares of the world”! I need to change my perspective. I’ve been talking about perspective with the art class at the homeschool co-op. Last time we met, we were drawing thumbnail sketches of a quail. I asked the students to notice the changes from different viewpoints. It has often been said about life that so much depends on our perspective. So I ask myself, “How have I been viewing my life? Am I considering it from various angles or am I fixated on one negative view?”
Another passage now comes to mind: Romans 1:20-21. Here, we read that the God expects thankfulness as an outflow of recognizing Him as Creator. This, we see, has sadly atrophied from our culture’s worldview. We also see the consequences–but that is another issue. I love to get outside and look at the wonders that God’s hands have wrought. As Walt Whitman has said, “Every leaf a miracle.” Indeed! And to God be the glory!
Today, I am thankful for my God. I am thankful that God has shown me mercy, given me grace, and ever remains longsuffering toward me!
And so, I take the next step, which is to offer my thanks to God: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your mercy on me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your grace extended to me. Thank you, my Lord, for being patient and longsuffering with me. Please forgive me for my ungrateful heart. Please help me to develop into a grateful person. Please help my eyes to open to the blessings you have given me. Amen.”
What can you find for which to thank God?