Word of the Week: Thankful

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My late friend and college room mate, David Lewis,  once related a touching story by Dr. John Kavanaugh, about a woman in an extended care hospital.

“She had some kind of wasting disease, her different powers fading away over the march of the month. A student of mine happened upon her on a coincidental visit. The student kept going back, drawn by the strange force of the woman’s joy. Though she could no longer move her arms and legs, she would say, ‘I’m just so happy that I can move my neck.’ When she could no longer move her neck, she would say, ‘I’m just so glad that I can see and hear.’

“When the young student finally asked the old woman what would happen if she lost her sound and sight, the gentle old lady said, ‘I’d just be so grateful that you come to visit.’”

While this woman’s attitude may sound almost extreme, through the years I have known people with serious physical handicaps that possessed the same spirit.  Dave’s observation is spot on. “Like a piece of grit in our eye or a grumbling in our stomach, we notice when small things go wrong. Yet, with a healthy, pain-free body, we often forget to remember and be grateful. May we take our focus away from the grit and the grumbling and focus instead on life’s incredible gifts.”

Our word of the week is “thankful.”

Being thankful is a theme that is found throughout the Bible. The Psalmist exclaimed, “Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords” (Ps 7:17. TLB)

The apostle Paul exhorted New Testament Christians, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Col 3:15, NIV)

The apostle also observed in Romans 1 that the descent of the Gentile world into debauchery began with a lack of gratitude. God revealed himself to them. He made known his invisible attributes through His eternal power and divine nature in the creation. He clearly said they were without excuse. Then he wrote, “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21)

The Roman philosopher Cicero did not overstate the case when wrote “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Think about it.

Humility. Faith. Hope. Love. Kindness. Generosity. Respect. Joy. Forgiveness. All of these virtues, and many others are connected to an attitude of gratitude.

Being thankful is not based on a certain set of circumstances, social position, financial worth, or worldly acclaim. It is found deep inside an individual who realizes that all he is and all that he has is by God’s grace.

Financial expert, David Ramsey, when asked on his radio show “How are you?” often responds, “Better than I deserve!” That’s true of us all. We are sinners saved by grace. Our lives are blessed by God and should lead us to being thankful.

On this week of Thanksgiving. Be thankful. Not just for the day off work. Or an abundance of material possessions. Or even your family, friends and brethren. Although, each of these merit our appreciation.

But be thankful to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1:18). Be thankful for who He is. Be thankful that He loves you. Be thankful for Jesus. Be thankful for the salvation from sin. Be thankful for all the spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ (Eph 1:13).

And even if things are not as well with you physically or materially as you would prefer, still pause and look beyond your current condition and be thankful.

“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18, TLB)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

2 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

2 responses to “Word of the Week: Thankful

  1. Barbara Chavez

    I enjoy your articles, they make me think and are sometimes just what I need
    Thank You

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