As we reflect on what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving, I thought I would highlight 3 things we ALL have access to or benefit from every day that we may overlook. Spending some time meditating on these 3 things this Thanksgiving will improve our quality of life and relationship with God.
The first thing or “being” I’d like to lift up is JESUS. That may sound like a predictable, Sunday school answer, but how many times do we get so busy–especially around the holidays–that we forget to worship God just for being God? We come to God with our needs and desires, with what stresses and concerns us, and sometimes we take Him for granted in the process. Let’s take a moment and reflect on not only what God can and has done for us, but for who God has been to us!
We live in a difficult world that often makes it hard to believe that we will be ok. Financial struggles, health struggles, even unfair circumstances. However, the beauty of the Gospel delivers to us a lighthouse of hope on a violent sea of despair. It reaches into our doubt and plants a different perspective. The idea that, because of Jesus, we do not have to be a victim to the darkness–that because of Him we can grab the darkness by hand and choose where to place it. The important thing to note here is that he did not promise us the absence of darkness, but that he would be with us if we ever found ourselves in it. He promised he’d give us the ability to withstand and operate within the darkness. He promised us he’d be with us.
So today, let’s be thankful for Him. Jesus. The Way Maker, The Peace Giver, The Good Shepherd.
When you hear the word “opportunity”, depending on where you are in the World, you possibly think new job, new partnership or potentially more money. While that may come easily to many of us who are western thinkers, this thought process isn’t true or even attainable everywhere. So today I’d like to focus on a different type of opportunity: the opportunity to make a difference. We can all enjoy that opportunity no matter where we live.
Every day we wake up, we all have that opportunity on some level. We have the opportunity to make this world better–even if just a tiny bit, even if for just one person. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And the more people that do what they can with whatever they may have, no matter how small, to improve our neighbor’s, lives the better this world gets.
Every day we can make somebody’s world better. The incredible thing about this opportunity is that it aligns perfectly with the way we’ve been wired as humans. When we give of ourselves to make someone else’s reality better it actually makes us better. When we serve others we are exercising ourselves in righteousness. We can become more compassionate, empathetic, kind, humble, by practicing neighborly love. We’re becoming our best selves by giving to others.
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article you probably have access to some form of the internet–maybe even a cell phone. Whether you’re living in a small village in Africa or a big city like New York, God has blessed you with some resources if you’re reading these words.
From water to food to shelter, we all have resources to be thankful for. The Bible says, over and over again, “He cares about our needs.” It actually promises us that He will supply all of our needs according to his riches and glory. This simply means that He’s a provider. It means that he loves us and is for us. No matter what our current reality looks like. He wants to and has resourced us.
You know, one of the reasons I wanted to write about gratitude, specifically around this holiday is because gratitude is redemptive. I also think that gratitude, well, grows! Let me explain. Once you start taking time to intentionally be grateful, you’ll very likely start finding all kinds of things to be grateful for. You’ll start to recognize other areas where God has blessed you, perhaps places you hadn’t thought of before. When you practice being grateful, you actually are practicing looking for the presence of God in your life. And guess what? When you’re looking for the presence of God like that, you’re probably going to find it! He promised it (Jeremiah 29:13).
So let’s be thankful today, for all the opportunities and resources that God has given to us. Let’s show gratitude to God for His boundless generosity, for giving us His very self. Happy Thanksgiving!