As I think about today, I ask myself this question: “What is Thanksgiving for?”
For some, it is simply a break from work. For others, it is a time to gather with friends or family or both, to enjoy one another’s company and our favorite foods, and to give thanks for the many blessings we’ve enjoyed.
Thanksgiving encompasses all of those things, but for me it is most important because it serves as a reminder to be a thankful person.
I am not by nature a thankful person, unless you consider acknowledging all the things that, in my opinion, have gone “right” as being truly thankful. I confess that my nature is to believe that you get what you deserve and what you earn and that there is no praise in people doing what they were supposed to do in the first place. For example, when I was an young lawyer working for a law firm, I didn’t think of thanking my clients and my law firm for my paycheck every month; I sure didn’t think about thanking God for my employment and for those clients every payday. I had done the work, and in exchange for it, I was to get paid.
Maybe I’m the only person in the world that tends to think that way. But I don’t think so, because the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:15 commands us to “be thankful.”
The more sobering thought for me this Thanksgiving is found in Romans Chapter 1 where we read of those who are depraved and we are told that their depravity began with denying God and becoming unthankful (v. 21).
It hurts me to say this, in view of my confessed natural tendency, but I believe there is a connection between the vitality of my relationship with God and my understanding of who He is and the thankfulness of my heart. The better I understand the awesome power of the sovereign God and His glory and contemplate the love He has for me from which no number of bad things, including death, can separate me, the more I realize I can’t be anything but a thankful person.
So my desire this Thanksgiving is not just to give thanks, but to become more of a thankful person—not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.
And that is my prayer for you as well, that no matter where you are on the thankful person scale, you will become a more thankful person because you know God and His love for you a little bit better every day.
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.
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