A TIME FOR THANKS
Terry R. Baughman
“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10–11).
Typically, we will feel the most grateful when we receive an unexpected or extravagant gift. When you are totally surprised and blessed more than you ever imagined it is easy to be overcome with thanksgiving and effusing in gratitude. On the other hand it is easy to overlook the small everyday blessings we receive, things like clothing, food, safety, and peace.
There are so many small blessings that make up a day that it would be impossible to express thankfulness for them all. When our children were small we would always try to pray with them before they went to sleep. Sometimes we would ask them about something for which they were thankful that day. They loved the exercise (perhaps it was just a way to stay awake a little longer). They would often ask, “Are we going to do ‘thankful for’s’ tonight?” I still remember them saying, “I’m thankful for mommy and daddy and ….” The list was endless, and usually what we would consider mundane. They would name the things they ate, their toys, friends, other family members, and pets. We would often have to stop them saying, “That’s enough for tonight.”
The lesson we learned from our kids is that we can be truly thankful for everything regardless of how insignificant it may seem. If our children can be thankful for the simple things each day perhaps we can learn to pick out a few small things each day to celebrate. How about a smooth, trouble-free commute to work? How about a beautiful day or a gorgeous sunset? How about counting the friends with whom you associate? How about being thankful for a bill paid, food on the table, and money left over for emergencies? There is much we can be thankful for if we will take inventory of the small things that we normally take for granted.
Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3–5). He expressed thankfulness for them every time he remembered them and joyfully prayed for them rejoicing because of their connection in the gospel work. This is all the more revealing when it is discovered in the text that Paul is imprisoned and in chains. Rather than bemoaning his fate and crying for sympathy and the prayers of others, he communicated his gratefulness for the wonderful fellowship of believers.
Paul’s thanksgiving even extended to his chains and imprisonment. He said, “the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” and because of Paul’s thankful and positive attitude, other believers became increasingly “bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12, 14).
May we become more thankful for the good things no matter how insignificant and receive grace to become more aware of God’s blessing even in adversity. Be thankful in everything!
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).