A Thanksgiving Prayer3
We live in an increasingly self-centered world. Driven by social media outrage and the challenges of a global pandemic, we can fail to recognize all the blessings we have been given. I understand that inflation is alarming and worrisome, tensions are high surrounding COVID, and that threats of conflict looming on the horizon. But have you stopped to consider just how good you have it? Are you thirsty? Just go to any number of faucets in your home and get clean, healthy water to drink. Cold? Hot? Flip a switch (or open an app on your smartphone), and your environment is modified to your desire. Need food? Go to a store where you can get fruit in the middle of winter or any number of packaged meats ready to cook and serve. Kings and Emperors throughout history could have dreamed about such creature comforts.
How is all this possible? Is it because we are inherently more moral than our ancestors? A casual glance at the news will refute that theory. Is it because we are more worthy than our ancestors? On what grounds could we say that? Men and women who have gone before us worked hard and sacrificed. The only answer that satisfies is that we are the beneficiaries of the grace of God. The One who made all things and preserves them by His almighty power has blessed us with more blessings than we can imagine. A good Thanksgiving exercise would be to take the advice of the old hymn and “Count your blessings, one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done.”
Thanksgiving is a time when we are reminded that much has been given to us. So how can you cultivate a heart of thanksgiving? A starting point would be to listen to the Apostle Paul:
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6–11)
Generosity produces thanksgiving. By giving freely of what we have, we are reminded that the Lord has promised to continue to provide for us. And that makes us thankful. So this Thanksgiving, look for ways to be a blessing to others around you: family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. May the Lord bless you with gratitude this Thanksgiving!