In the late 1621’s, settlers of this new land gathered for the first Thanksgiving celebration to express their gratitude to God for his bountiful provisions during the previous year. When George Washington became the first president of the United States, he too formally recognized Thanksgiving Day. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday. When I think about our current celebrations. Today, it’s become a time for feasting, football, and being the first one to the malls. Many people don’t give God a second thought, let alone pause long enough to acknowledge him as the Source of all their blessings. Why has Thanksgiving become such a self- indulgent, materialistic holiday? The answer is really quite simple—when people don’t have gratitude in their hearts, they don’t practice it with their words, attitudes, or actions. We can understand why unbelievers don’t thank God; but sadly, many Christians are better at grumbling than showing appreciation to the Lord. If we’re not careful, the troubles, disappointments, and pressures of life will steal our gratitude.
So let’s consider what it takes to have a heart that overflows with thanksgiving. First of all, gratitude springs from a relationship with Christ. The apostle Paul described this connection in Colossians 2:6-7: “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” When we consider all the spiritual riches God lavishes on us because of our relationship with his son, our hearts can’t help but overflow with thankfulness (Eph 1:3-14). No longer are we God’s enemies. We’ve actually been adopted into his family, and nothing can ever break that relationship.
Secondly, a thankful attitude is sustained by a lifestyle of walking with Christ. Salvation is the doorway to a relationship with Jesus. From that point forward, we have the privilege of His presence throughout our lives. His indwelling spirit guides and strengthens us to walk in obedience to Him but He also works internally, changing us from self-centered, ungrateful, and sinful people into saints who display the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Have you ever looked back and thanked the Lord for not leaving you as he found you? Although this transformation is often accomplished through pain and suffering, the character qualities which result are of eternal value.
Thirdly, consistent gratitude is a result of being firmly rooted and built up in Christ. It’s easy to thank the lord when life is going our way. But when hard times come, thankfulness will quickly disappear if we aren't grounded in the truths of God’s word. Since life is filled with trials and heartaches which could easily cause despair, anger, and bitterness, we need to dig deep into scripture to gain God’s perspective on our difficulties. Otherwise, we won’t understand what he’s doing or why he’s allowed to go through suffering and hardship.
We hope each and every one of you have a safe November with your Friends and Families
The Christian Prayer Chain Staff
Inspired By: Kaleb J. Maxwell Last Updated 2014 By Administrator Kaleb J. Maxwell