By Debra Whittington
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving is only a few days away according to the official date on the calendar. However, Thanksgiving should be each and every day for Christians. In the midst of trials and troubles that each of us face, thanksgiving should be a way of life rather than a day in our life.
During my morning walks with my little dog, Gracie, I took time to think about the upcoming holiday and the things I have to be thankful for in my life. Gracie was obviously enjoying her walk as she paused to sniff along the way in her search for rabbits. I thought about how it doesn’t take much to make her happy and content. As long as she has food and water, is petted and loved each day, has her daily walks with an occasional rabbit to chase, and has a comfortable place to take her frequent naps she is satisfied.
If only we could be as content with the basic needs of life. All of us have a need for food, shelter, and love. The Apostle Paul knew of this type of contentment even though he was in prison at the time. He wrote in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. If Paul could be content in prison, we can learn how to find the same contentment in our present state.
I was visiting with a friend recently about being content with what we have. We commented about people we know who always want more and more. Nothing is ever good enough in their life and with every deal they make they are always looking toward the next deal. We wondered if they could ever be happy since they were looking ahead to what they could acquire next while worrying how they were going to take care of what they already have.
While it would be nice to have a little more, it is wonderful to have as much as I do. Recently our church put together shoeboxes containing gifts for a children’s home in Mexico. They lack many of the things that we think of as the essentials of life and yet they are so happy. When they receive their small Christmas gifts they are overjoyed at the generosity of the giver and treasure their present. How I wish I could see their little faces in person.
In addition to being content with what we have, it is important to be content no matter what situation we are in. This is difficult when it comes to health issues. When dealing with a chronic illness it is hard to be content and give thanks. I learned to give thanks for my good days when I am able to walk and take care of my home.
I was beginning to take my health for granted when I suddenly became ill and was told I would have to stay home and rest for at least a week. At first all I could think of was the many things I had to do or thought had to be done. With a stern lecture, I realized that my main priority was to rest and get better.
God used this illness to show me how thankful I should be for all the people who care for me and were praying for my recovery. I am thankful for the friend who called to say she heard about my illness and was fixing dinner for us. It is such a blessing to have family members and friends who care about you.
No matter what your circumstance may be there is always something you can give thanks for in your life. You may not necessarily feel grateful for the bad things, but even in the midst of those instances God sends someone your way to bless your life.
With Thanksgiving Day approaching I realize there are those people who are alone, in need, or wish to spend the holiday with other people. First Baptist Church is continuing its tradition of reaching out to these people with their annual Thanksgiving Dinner served at the church on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This dinner is for anyone who wants to come and is without charge.
Mark and I have made this a Thanksgiving tradition and are blessed to join with others as we become one big, happy family on Thanksgiving Day. We invite you to come and join us for a wonderful meal and a time of fellowship.
Have a happy Thanksgiving and be sure to give thanks to the One who made it all possible.