Each night, my daughter and I say our prayer. The bulk of our prayer contains the traditional, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, but there’s an additional part we are saying more and more often – specific things for which we’re thankful.
Depending on the number of items we include, the list can vary a little. But regardless of number or order, three items always seem to get mentioned: our family, our home and our food.
Not too bad of a list for a young child. A list worth having for all adults actually.
When it comes to prayer, supplication for others is important, requests are welcome, and remembering who God is a must … but thankfulness is an aspect of prayer that should be instilled into children in order that the mindset becomes a natural one as adults.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:16 NKJV)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” Colossians 4:2-6.
I’ve spent a lot of time and expended a lot of energy to help people before with never an acknowledgment of what it had cost me to do so. And, it’s not that I need to be thanked; I didn’t help them for the gratitude I would receive. But rather, it is the attitude of the person I helped that bothered me. She felt entitled to the help, and so I was simply discharging my duty “owed” to her.
Entitlement is the opposite of thankfulness. In thankfulness, we acknowledge that the other person (or God) didn’t need to do what he did and that our needs were placed before his own.
That’s why over and over again we are told to be thankful in the Scriptures.
Besides the help that God gives you each and every day that He doesn’t need to, He gave us His Son to die in our place on the cross when He didn’t need to. We all had sinned and deserved death. God would have been within His rights to turn His back on us and let us face the consequence of our transgression. But He didn’t. He loved instead. He died to give us eternal life when He didn’t need to. No one’s entitled to heaven.
Are you thankful?
Yeah, I know that this isn’t the time of the year when we’re supposed to talk about what we’re thankful for but I’m going to talk about it anyways.
I’m thankful for family and friends who encourage me to do right. For family and friends who make doing the right thing easy. For family and friends who enjoy the company of fellow Christians. For family and friends who love me with a Christ-like love.
The world doesn’t care for me. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out in the world with “good” hearts – but what that does mean is that the world isn’t interested in the welfare of my soul. The welfare of my belly, of my house, of my children? Sure, there are people who care about those things and I’m glad that they do for the sake of our society. But they don’t care about my soul, or else they wouldn’t be in the world. And the welfare of my soul outweighs the welfare of all else.
It’s easy to take those who are closest to us for granted, but once a little bit of space of time and distance and the world enters the picture then we quickly remember who means what to us and who we really mean something to.
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)
“He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan” Luke 17:16.
While cleaning out her locker at the end of sixth grade, one of my daughters hung a thank-you note to the custodians, who were so impressed with this that we received a letter from the school commending her. Just the other night over dinner another daughter said that she saw the thank you note, now years later, displayed in a janitor’s closet. Perhaps common courtesy isn’t all that common.
That’s what Jesus encountered anyway when after he had healed ten lepers of their physically and socially debilitating disease, only one returned to thank Him—and one who was not of God’s people.
This is another issue for us today. How often it is when those outside of Christ act more Christ-like than those who’ve committed to become like Him with their baptism! Members of Christ’s body should be shining the light of thankfulness through the murky world of self-absorbed people who take the kindness and service of others for granted.
But do we? It begins with realizing what Jesus has done for us and throwing ourselves at His feet.
Does your thankfulness affect others?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
a Christian historical fantasy
Just in case someone wants to use any article (or articles) on my Bible study blog relative to Thanksgiving and thankfulness, I’ve consolidated them here: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2011/11/23/everything-about-thanksgiving-and-thankfulness/
We had lunch a couple of hours ago and my husband and children thanked me for the meal. They are always so gracious to thank the cook, whoever it might be, after every meal, and my husband has been the greatest teacher of this habit to our children, through his example.
For today and every Lord’s day. And certainly every day.
Ps 100 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.. In this psalm we find a call to come to the Lord with joy, thanksgiving and praise. Why? “For the LORD is good…” – Ps 100:5a.