And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)
This time of year is a time I stop to think about how much I have to be thankful for. I have a loving family, great friends, a good job, a nice home, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I also have the freedom to worship as I choose, to openly share my faith, to vote, to read what I want to read, to listen to the music I like, and to express myself. As a woman, I have freedoms that many women around the world do not have. Yes, I am very blessed and very thankful.
But…would I remember to be thankful if things weren’t going well with my family, with a friend, or with my job? Would I remember to be thankful If I didn’t have a nice home, plenty of food to eat, or an abundance of clothes to wear? If I didn’t have the many freedoms I have been blessed with, would I still be thankful?
I should not need a day set aside for thankfulness to remember to count my blessings, and everything in my life should not have to be going well in order for me to be thankful. If I believe what Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, than I can’t allow my thankfulness to come just from what I have, or how I feel about what is happening in my life. I can’t let my circumstances determine whether or not I am thankful.
If I truly believe that Christ is my Lord, and I choose to follow Him, my gratitude will come from the knowledge of the One in whom I live and I will be thankful. If I let my roots grow deep in Him, and let my life be built on the solid foundation He provides, I will be thankful. If I study God’s Word, and learn from the teachings of godly leaders, I will be thankful. If I am truly in right relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my heart will overflow with thankfulness.
I do believe it’s important to stop and count my blessings from time to time (and I have many), but I don’t want my circumstances alone to determine whether or not I am thankful. I know it won’t be easy, but I want to make thankfulness a way of life. It’s my hope that you too will find a way to do this. Let’s offer our prayers and songs of praise to the One who calls us His own.
Here is a beautiful Psalm of praise and thanksgiving:
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. ~Psalm 100 (NLT)