Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Thankful Heart

“In everything gives thanks!” (I Thess. 5:18)

Many years ago I read an interesting appraisal on the hippie generation focused on the ‘why’ concerning their choice to live as simple a life as possible. For most of them it meant rejecting an affluent life style with all the toys and privileges of the upper crust of society. Why would they leave that all behind for beads, bare feet and make-shift shelters?
Apparently, because the one thing they needed most their parents had inadvertently withheld from them - the sense of appreciation, the ability to feel thankful. When we never experience lack, we lose the ability to feel thankful and an unthankful person is soon an unhappy person.
So they left their lives of ease and created for themselves a life-style of ‘doing without’ -- thereby recapturing the ability to appreciate the simple things of life.

Have you ever thought about how being thankful or unthankful permeates the very fibre of who you are? Why is it that complaining about what is wrong is always easier than being thankful for what is good?

I discovered something today that makes me wonder if mankind is by nature an unthankful creature.
When I am doing a word study I often like to find the very first scripture that contains that word.
I looked up thankfulness (and variations of the word) in Strong's concordance.
Would you believe that there is no reference to thanksgiving throughout the books of Genesis and Exodus? Did no one ever think to be thankful, until God gave instructions regarding the sacrifice of thanksgiving?? (Lev. 7:12)
I'm sure people must have been thankful but it is interesting that there is no mention of it.

I was thinking about thankfulness today for several reasons.

Yesterday I saw an employee of a home hardware store, a man who was missing his left arm. I thought about how difficult it must have been for him to get dressed that morning. I immediately felt thankful that, even though my arms don’t always work the way they used to, I still have both of them and I can type these words with no problem.

We got two letters today from our sponsered girl, Sharon, in Uganda. She lives in a very poor village with not even the basics of life as we know it. Her father is dead and she lives with her mother and three sisters in a dirt floor hut. They do not even have blankets for the chilly nights.
In my last letter I sent her a pretty card and tucked inside a couple of packages of stickers and some little pictures. The kind of thing most kids here would look at and toss aside.

Sharon writes, “I thank you for the letter, card, stickers and good pictures which you sent to me. I am very happy for that special gift which you sent to me. I loved the stickers and the pictures on the surface of the card very much and they were just great !!”
Her next line dissolves my heart into tears..……. “I wonder whether I am the one who deserves that kind of love! God bless you please!”
In the face of that kind of thankfulness, I feel positively ashamed.

The third reason I was thinking of thankfulness was the fact that I am getting ready for our yearly camping trip.
And no! I am NOT thankful I am going camping. I am thinking of how thankful I will be when I come back home!!
Camping is not my favourite thing to do even though I love nature - I love the mountains – I love to watch the wildlife - I prefer to enjoy them with all my conveniences close by!!
But I think this year I will think about Sharon and about how in my primitive camp site ( with a 10’x20’ two room tent, a queen-size bed, hot showers and flush toilets a short walk away) I am still much richer than she has ever been!!
So I have decided that I will spend my camping days looking for things to be thankful for - and working that thankfulness deep into my spirit!

In the above quoted verse “In everything give thanks…” the part that comes next is often not emphasized. The verse continues, “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!” The WILL of God, did you ever think of what that means??
If you are thankful you are DOING THE WILL OF GOD for your life!

The things God asks of us are really so simple, are they not? How hard is it to be thankful…..all it takes is a moment to stop and smell the roses - to think about the many, many things every day that we have to be thankful for! And in so doing we are pleasing God, we are doing His will for our life; we are serving Him with our thanksgiving!!
I wonder.......how different would our days would be if our continuous, uppermost thoughts were of thankfulness, no matter what the day throws our way!!

“Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
That is – the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name!!”
(Heb. 13:15)


Carolanne said...

Well I like camping but I'm also looking forward to hearing about what things you had to be thankful for when you are camping.
I will be thankful for your return so that you can post again as I don't think you'll be blogging from your tent.
I am thankful that God brought you into my life!

Laura said...

And I thank God for you! Your blog is such a blessing!
Also, I am glad to have you live vicariously through me. I am honored! I am glad, and thankful, that others enjoy my adventures as well. Thank you for such a lovely posting! And good luck with the camping!