Archive for November, 2010

We are all thankful for something.  I can be just as thankful for the absence of something as I can the presence of something else.  Wait a sec – that was confusing wasn’t it?  Let me ‘splain then.

We tend to think of "thankfulness" as just being thankful for things we DO have.  I have my health, I have a great family, a nice car, etc., etc.  But what about the absence of things?  I for example am thankful that I do not have a serious disease.  I am thankful I do not have a big pile of bills that I cannot pay.  Right now I am thankful for there being no major drama in my life! 

imageI have a silly head game I play when I have a pain of some type.  For example, if I have a toothache, I think to myself, " When this pain is gone I will be so thankful, and I will appreciate healthy teeth even more".  But do I actually ever follow through on that?  Not usually, because when the pain is gone, I forget it.  When my car breaks down I am always SO annoyed with it.  Then I have to take it to a car dealer to get it repaired, which is always a difficult experience.  But when I am driving down the road on a long trip, and my vehicle obediently and reliably takes me 500-600 miles in comfort, quietly and safely, am I thankful enough?  Rarely.  Ouch.

You see where I am going here?  As we approach a new holiday season with both Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, how thankful are we for the things we do not have to deal with?  Here is a radical thought process for your holidays.  On Thanksgiving this year, before you say your prayer of thanks, have each person share something they do NOT have that they are thankful for.  You may find some interesting things, but it will also make you more thankful for what you do have.  Go ahead – shake up the tradition a little!

Here is the one I really want you to hear though.  At Christmas, before opening a huge pile of new presents under the tree this year, why not pause, and thank God for something you do not have to worry about, which was the entire meaning of the day.  Know what that one is?  You do NOT have to pay the price for your sins.  God solved that problem for you, and continues to solve it for you every day as he gives you grace and forgiveness.  Jesus died so that you do NOT have to suffer the consequences.  If that sounds hokey or religious to you, then find someone who does understand that.  Because he DID have to, I DO NOT have to.  I am so thankful I don’t.  Are you?

Go ponder this one.  It’s very cool.

Today’s article may be a bit long, but please hang in there for me, this is something very important both YOU and I need to do today. 

When I am trying to focus on a particular subject, sometimes I focus on what is the opposite to help me think.  Today I wanted to think through what the word “thankful” really means to me.  It was easy to come up with the normal platitudes of being thankful for my job, my health, my home, etc. (and I AM very thankful for those things).  But in order to think outside of the box a bit on this I decided to think about what the word “thankless” means.

Wow.  God really hit me when I approached it that way.  There are a number of ways we can approach this word, but the primary meaning I landed upon was the idea of not being thankful and examining the ways I am indeed “thankless” to the most important people in my life for what they do and who they are.  So excuse the personal nature of this article this week, but I gotta do this.  Here goes:

imageTo my wife:

I have not made you aware every day of the love I have for you and I am sorry.  God in his incredible wisdom has and is using you to prune, hone, shape and help me through every day.  In my imperfection I get angry with you even though I know He works on me through you.  When you do all the small things that make life so pleasant I do not focus on being sure you feel loved as a result.  You serve God by being my wife every day, and He is pleased with your service.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my children:

You have taught me so much.  You have taught me what raw feelings of love truly feel like, showed me that pride is not always a bad thing, and you have been used by God to teach me patience and what is important in life.  You help me focus and adjust my pace as I walk each day.  You give me joy I cannot possibly describe, and make me turn to God with smiles at times, and with pleading tears at others.  You are perfect people in my eyes, and in God’s.  Do not ever forget that.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my mother and father:

Thank you for bearing the pain of me.  You have endured it in so many ways from birth even through this present day.  I have not been thankful enough to you or for you and I am sorry.  All through my life you have loved me when I was unlovable, suffered through my mistakes in spite of my ingratitude, and always made sure I knew your love was there.  You took the small moments of love I gave you and nurtured them and multiplied them for use when I would not give you more, but you needed them.  You have been a wonderful model for me as I raise my own children.  Thank you for making my life better.  I love you.

To my sister:

Please see above in Mother and Father section.  It applies to you too.  Even if you are a brat.

And to the rest of the people in my life:

Take all the above and apply it to yourself.  God has indeed made all things perfect, and I am thankful for you all.  Thank you for putting up with me, for helping me grow, and for helping me enjoy the gift of life God gave me.

This verse sums up what you all do for me:

Colossians 3:15-16: (NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Okay.  That’s that.  I did my part.  I told you earlier there is something YOU need to do.  Reread the above, and if you don’t get it on your own, well, send me an email and I’ll explain it to you.  Because God would want me to.

Thanks for reading.  Now go be thankful.