A Reflection of Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Most of the calendar year, I have found that overall as a society…and even as Christians…we tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. Yes…I too am guilty of this!

We may focus on the husband we don’t have….the children we don’t have…the friends we don’t have…the good physical health we don’t have…the money we don’t have…the job we don’t have…the education we don’t have…the house or car we don’t have…and the list goes on!

When we tend to focus on what we don’t have, we can miss what we actually do have and take for granted the blessings that God has given us.

I always find this happening when my children get sick. I take for granted when they are healthy and running around all crazy as I focus on their high activity level and on disciplining them…instead of being thankful for the fact they are running around and being crazy little boys!

Now don’t get me wrong…not having certain things can be very challenging…like good health, financial income, or even a roof over your head! …but if ….I am just saying “if” you don’t have those things…and “if” you never did have those things…can you still be thankful?

The book of Job is a great lesson on Thanksgiving. The Bible tells us that Job was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job 1:1 ESV

Job was a man who loved God, feared God, and behaved as God would want him to behave. And therefore, God richly blessed him. Job had vast wealth, a good family, and devoutly worshiped God. (Job 1:2-5)

If you have never read the story of Job, I highly recommend reading this book in the bible. It truly puts life and its challenges in perspective.

To briefly summarize, Satan convinced God to let him afflict Job and God agreed. So Satan afflicted Job…and Job lost his family, his wealth, his health, his friends. Everything was taken away from him! …Can you even imagine? I know I can’t!

But in this truly tragic story of Job, we find that Job still remained faithful and patient…even in times when things were very tough…even at times when he questioned God and truly didn’t understand. And what is so amazing about Job is…well check this out!

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:22 NASB

Job remained faithful…and thankful…despite all the suffering and pain and tragedy he went through…and in the end God blessed him because of his actions, faith, and thankfulness!

So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. Job 42:12a NLT

Life is about perspective. Sure it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have versus on what we do have…we all have done this…but it’s important to realize and remind ourselves that everything…EVERYTHING… we have here on this earth can be taken away.

Job understood this and continued to praise God when he said…

I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord! Job 1:21 NLT

I am quite doubtful that any of us reading this story has had it nearly as bad as Job…But through it all, my question is…Can we remain thankful?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

I love that the Thanksgiving holiday gives us a time to reflect and be thankful…but thankfulness should be a regular and daily attitude in our lives…365 days a year. Our thankfulness cannot be based upon what we have…or don’t have…because what we have can be taken away in an instant… and what we don’t have we may never receive.

And the only thing that we actually do have that can never be taken from us is our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! No person and no thing can take away our relationship with Jesus!

Developing an attitude of daily thankfulness will also help us through life’s challenges as it brings our focus upon your Savior instead of our situation.

This is a great reminder for us to not wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to express our gratitude to God…everyday should be a day of Thanksgiving! (yea …minus the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc even though it’s so yummy!)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! And a thank you all for supporting Sweeter Than Honey Blog!

Reflection Points:

1)      Do you find yourself focusing on what you don’t have versus what you do have?

2)      Does it take something being taken away from you to make you realize the need to be thankful more often?

3)      How can you develop an attitude of thankfulness on a daily basis…especially if you tend to focus on the things you don’t have in life?

Action Points:

1)      Don’t wait for a holiday like Thanksgiving to express your gratitude to God. Begin a habit of thanking him in your prayers each day!

2)      Developing an attitude of thankfulness will also help you though life’s challenges as it brings your focus upon Jesus your Savior instead of your situation.

 

 

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