God wants his people to be thankful. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16).
Why be thankful? Because it’s right! Furthermore, God knows what is best for our growth and salvation. He wants us to believe that, indeed, “…for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We should be grateful in EVERYTHING, even in difficult situation. Here are two examples:
• The Scottish minister Alexander Whyte (1836-1921) was known for his uplifting prayers during worship. Whyte always found something for which to be thankful.
One Sunday morning, the weather was just awful — dark and stormy. One of the deacons said, “Well, the preacher won’t be able to thank God for anything on a day like this. It’s absolutely horrible outside.” But the preacher began by praying, “We thank thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”
• A family was traveling the day before Christmas. The station wagon was packed with the kids and stuff for the 400-mile trip to Grandma’s. As was their custom, before leaving they asked God to bless their trip. As they cruised down Interstate 75 through Ohio, they ran over some debris in the road. It made a lot of noise, but didn’t seem to do any damage.
When they pulled off the expressway for gas a few miles later, they noticed that the two front tires were deflating and couldn’t be repaired. Upon reflecting on their situation, the dad said, “We weren’t happy with having to replace the tires, but we were thankful for God’s care: We were thankful that we didn’t have an accident; thankful that the tires stayed inflated until we exited the highway; thankful for the tow truck sitting at the gas station; thankful that a repair shop was open. And we were thankful for God’s answer to our prayer.”
You see, there is always something for which to be thankful, even in hard times. Sometimes all that is required is a different perspective on the situation.
Someone suggested some things for which he could be thankful: “I’m thankful for the taxes I pay…because it means I have a job. I’m thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters than need fixing…because it means I have a home to live in. I’m thankful for the person in church who sometimes sings off key…because it suggests they’re worshipping God.
Focusing on what we have — rather than what we don’t have — can help us be grateful to God. Certainly there may be things we don’t have, that we would like to have, or even that we think we need to have. But if we stop focusing on what we don’t have, and begin concentrating on what we do have, we may find that we have a lot to be grateful for.
Let’s be grateful to the Lord in everything…and demonstrate our appreciation for it every day of the year!