Giving Thanks in a Selfish World

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I love Thanksgiving.

I love the food, the gathering of family, and the fact that many are somewhat thankful at least once a year. It saddens me to think how selfish we as a people have become. We usually worry about “us four and no more” and forget that there are others out there who are less fortunate.
We also forget, sadly, what we should be most thankful for.
Our lives get so chaotic and hectic. We’re so busy with work, school, activities, functions, etc. that we rarely pause and take a breath. And when we do, we seldom take the time to thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings in our lives.
This is especially true for me, as I sit and compare my situation to someone else’s. I see all the things in my life that I wish were different. All the choices I made I wish I hadn’t, and how another person’s seemed to have worked out for them. If I let the negative thought train go too far, I wonder just what it is I’m supposed to be thankful for.

Giving Thanks in a Selfish World

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 118:1)

I don’t know about you, but I read this verse again and again. And just rested for just a moment. To realize that God’s mercy endures forever. A quick Google of the term mercy returned these results: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

Wow.

Simply, we are to thank God because He is Good. His mercy endures forever. How truly wonderful and amazing is that?

“Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:7)

We all know what the Bible says about faith. We have to have our root system in Jesus, and our faith established, and abound in thanksgiving.

Through the many verses in the Bible about “thanks” or “thanksgiving”, I do not see any that say, “Thank God because your circumstances are great” or “Give ye thanks to The Lord for your riches are many” or anything resembling that. At all.

What I see are verses that tell us to thank God because HE is GOOD.

It doesn’t matter what’s happening around us, the truth is we were extended so much more grace and mercy than we could ever comprehend, and whether you’re in a mansion on a mountaintop or a cardboard box in a valley, we should be thankful for all God has done for us.

We cannot let circumstances or the selfishness of others dictate our thankfulness to a loving God.

Some discrepancies arise about Thanksgiving, about when it originally began, who really held the first feast, etc. But most scholars agree on one thing: early American Thanksgiving celebrations started because people thanked God for their bountiful harvest. For provision. For their lives.

When we take a step back from what seems terrible, or unfavorable, we realize that God’s love is prevalent in our lives. And while we might not have everything we want, we are still blessed.

I don’t have the house I want, drive the vehicle I want, and can’t afford the clothes I want. My bills don’t always get paid on time and I can’t always cook those amazing looking recipes.

But when I stop and look around, I see that I have everything I need.

I realize that sometimes I get caught up in the world around me, and what I think I need. So rather than focus on what I don’t have and what areas could use a little more financial cushion, I’ve begun asking God for a content heart. For Him to fill me with more of Him, His love, and a desire to serve others.

To stop seeing what I don’t have, and focusing on what I do have. And we don’t need a holiday for that.

November 13, 2017
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