On Being Thankful

Thankful PeopleThanksgiving is not just the fourth Thursday in November, as dictated by the government. For Christians, every day is one of thanksgiving, even when our circumstances tempt us to think we have little for which to be thankful. Whenever we give in to that temptation, we erect an obstacle to the flow of God’s blessings. Stop and think. No one is immune from difficulties; the difference is God’s presence in those difficulties.

It’s from that perspective that I offer thanks for the following:

  • Growing up in a family that wasn’t broken by divorce, knowing that my parents always wanted the best for me.
  • Starting my own marriage with someone who was as committed to serving God as I was.
  • Two children who are now happily married with children of their own. Having seven grandchildren is one of life’s greatest joys.
  • God’s abundant forgiveness for the times I’ve breached trust with Him and those closest to me.
  • The experience of seeing how God leads from one place to another at times when I didn’t know where to turn. I now live in the confidence that the cliché of the open door is more than a cliché for those who put their trust in Him.
  • The opportunities I have for speaking His truths, whether in the classroom, in books and articles, or in this daily commentary.
  • The hundreds of students who have crossed my path and with whom I stay in contact over the years; the friendships that have grown as a result.
  • The simple, yet essential, things of life: shelter, a good night’s sleep, tasty food, free time to read and think, good fellowship.
  • The sure promise that this life is only the beginning of an eternity with the One who is the source of all life.

Yes, I am thankful, and I never want to lose that spirit of gratitude. Anything less would be an affront to the God who lifted me from the pit and made me a new person. As the apostle Paul instructed in I Thessalonians, chapter 5:

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

That is my goal.