Do You Give Thanks?

Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence.  The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it.

Terrified, the one shouted to the other, “Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!” John answered, “I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life.” “But you must!” implored his companion. “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” panted John, “I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful” (Source Unknown).

It’s a humorous story, but I think it has a great message.  Remember what Paul writes to the Colossian church? Paul, through the inspiration of the Spirit wrote,  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17, NIV).  Paul is saying that no matter what you do—whether in your talking, or in your actions, do it ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus.  If you’re washing dishes, do it as if you’re doing it for Christ, if you’re cleaning up after someone, do it for Jesus, if your in over your heard, push through for Jesus!

But it also says that we are to “give thanks to God the Father through Him [Jesus].” So what does that mean?  I think it means that no matter what comes our way, no matter how bad, or how incredible, that we are to give thanks for everything God has done for us. So you’re worried about something? Life got you down? Then  remember what Paul writes the church in Philippi: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).  Take it to God!  He will provide the answer and the outcome that will accomplish His purpose in your life!

Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersby illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him” (Our Daily Bread).  Imagine how God feels.

So what about you?  Are you good at giving thanks?  Have you really ever sat down and given through to just how much God has done for you?  Have you thanked Him? Try this little experiment.  Take out a piece of paper and a pen.  Write down everything you have to be thankful for in your life.  I think you’ll be really surprised at how good you have it and how God is blessing you daily.  Some people, the glass half empty folks, often feel that God doesn’t care about them.  Doing this exercise will definitely help them to see just how good and great our God truly is. Sometimes we just need to see that freedom is sometimes just simply another perspective away.  Just something to think about.

– Scott

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