Strong spirits: are you grateful?
Thanksgiving is more than a national holiday. It is more than a chance to hang out with friends and family and watch parades and football and eat way too much food. Thanksgiving is primarily an appropriate response to God for all that he has done for and given to us.
The Bible is full of examples of people expressing their deep gratitude to God. And not just in pleasant circumstances either. We are charged to give thanks in all circumstances!
"Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances." Paul the apostle (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father." Paul again (Ephesians 5:20)
"My friends, consider yourself fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way..." the apostle James (James 1:2)
Thanking God in all circumstances is telling him we trust him, no matter what. Thanksgiving is the entry point to a relationship with God, the foundation for the rich life he intends for us. To grumble and complain is to tell God, "I don't trust you." It severs us from the intimacy with him that we need.
Is your heart full of gratitude? Are you giving thanks? Always?
Gary Schwerin serves as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church. He is also the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His columns appear here every Sunday - to see them all, subscribe to our daily email.
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