As the week of Thanksgiving has approached I have been reflecting on what I truly have to be thankful for. As I began quietly thinking through my list I noticed how God has transformed me from desiring material possessions and have learned to appreciate the people that he has brought into my life. This is so different from the man that I had once become who had measured success from the processions of my life and the quest of keeping up with the Jones’s. I am so thankful that God delivered me from these mindsets and showed me true freedom in having a relationship with him and being thankful for the truly important things in my life. It brought a question to me that I feel we should all be asking ourselves. What is necessary to be a truly thankful person? He began to show me revelation and insight as I began to search the scriptures and I am going to share these principles outlined in the Word of God with you.
Thankful people focus on what they have, not what they do not have.
At times I reflect on the situation in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had everything they needed except for access to one small tree. It seems as though resisting that tree would be easy – there must have been thousands of other eligible trees. But, Adam and Eve begin to think about The One Tree (with the help of that slick snake). In that moment, their focus turns from what they have to what they do not have. Ultimately, they think God is withholding something good from them. They are not thankful for what they have. Financially, many people have a lot. But they don’t think about the many things they have. They think about what other’s have. They spend most of their lives discontent because they do not have as much as their neighbor. What a miserable existence.
Thankful people admit they have more than they deserve.
Some call it luck. Others call it blessings. The truth is we all have more than we deserve. For Christians there is this realization that what we have is a gift of grace. Everything is a graceful gift from God. A thankful person allows for a close relationship between grace and economics. As such, thankful people comfortably admit that God is the source of financial increase. Thankful people know thankfulness is something we develop. Unfortunately, many of us think that we are made thankful. I disagree. I believe that we learn to become thankful. One must first learn to be thankful, and then regardless of what they have they can be thankful. Therefore, thankfulness is much like the wealth building process. You will not be rich when you have enough money, but you will be rich when you realize everything you already have. If you decide to be thankful when you get “x” then probably once you get that item you actually will just want something more.
Thankful people gauge blessings by things other than money.
Money is one way we are blessed as individuals. There are, however, many, many other ways we are blessed as individuals. This Thanksgiving your table might have some of the world’s finest garnishments. The table may be covered with the finest festive spread. But, if that is the extent of your thankfulness you are missing out on the greatest blessings available. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. (Proverbs 15:17) If you are surrounded this Thanksgiving by friends and/or family, you are one of the most blessed people in the world. If you know Jesus and have a relationship with him, joy overflows. If you have children who honor and respect you – you have much for which to be thankful. Go ahead and be brutally honest with yourself just for a moment. What things are you truly thankful for that really matter in the kingdom of God? What changes do we need to make in our own hearts that could change our mindsets and make us more joyful with what we already have instead of things still longed for? Take this Holiday season to answer what really are the greatest blessings you enjoy? Do those things come from money? Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) For what things are you most thankful?
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