Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Being Thankful

Seems like a good time to be thankful, doesn’t it? Aside from the upcoming national holiday, my lovely bride celebrates her birthday today. I’ve got a job I love, a healthy family, and three dogs that think I hung the moon (they sometimes think I didn’t hang it correctly, but they still think I did it).

Yet, I’m admittedly not good at being thankful. I’m better at feeling entitled. Rather than feeling thankful for what I have, I’m more inclined to notice what I don’t have.

But I’ve learned that I need to be thankful. Not ought to be, nor should be… I need it. Here’s a few reasons why:

(1) Being thankful helps me fight off that sense of entitlement. When I stop and thank God for what I have, I remember that I didn’t earn any of this. Nor deserve it. If I worked to earn anything, I did that work with the strength that God gave me. And in a situation in which my work could earn me something.

(2) Being thankful helps me have more compassion for those who don’t have what I have. I can get a warped theology that says that others don’t have as much as I because God intended it that way, or because they haven’t earned it (even though I didn’t either!). But when I realize that what I have comes from God, I also realize that it was given to me for a purpose: to share with others.

(3) Being thankful helps me to not worry about the future. When I thank God for what I have, I am much more likely to trust in Him to provide what I need in the future.

It’s hard, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If that verse sounds cheesy or out of place, remember that Paul was talking about contentment when he uttered those words. He was talking about knowing how to live in abundance and knowing how to live in want. He was talking about… thankfulness. So if you want to finally apply Philippians 4:13 in its meaning in context, use it this week. Be thankful, and let Christ help you be thankful.

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