News and Views
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Not long ago I encountered the question, "How content would you be if you have today only that for which you gave thanks yesterday?" I found it a very intriguing and thought provoking question. I tend to live with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation, and give thanks throughout the day for many things as they catch my attention. At the same time, I do not go through a long comprehensive list of my many blessings to give thanks for them on a daily basis. That means that there are many things which I greatly appreciate and would sorely miss for which I probably did not specifically give thanks yesterday.
There are many wonderful things which we tend to take for granted. There is the sun with its light and heat, the major source of all energy on the earth, and the chlorophyll in every green plant which enables the process of photosynthesis to trap some of that energy and make it available for our use. There is the beautiful blue of the sky, and the darker blue of the night sky with the its intriguing display of stars and the moon. There is the ever-changing weather which brings the moisture necessary for growing food and other sources of energy. There are sunrises and sunsets, times of magnificent beauty to start and end each day. There is human intelligence and inventiveness which have developed so many, many things to make daily life easier, more productive, and more comfortable. We tend to take all this and much more for granted because it is part of daily experience for all of us. As Jesus said, "Our Father in Heaven causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:45 NIV)
There are many things which we have because we have worked and continue to work hard for them. Most of us have a home, adequate food and clothing and are able to access adequate transportation. Many of us have earned the resources to have comforts and recreation which go far beyond the necessities of life. Expensive technologies unknown only a few short years ago are now considered necessities of daily life, and we have them. Do we think that we have only ourselves to thank for these material possessions, or do we recognize that we are blessed to be able to acquire them? Do we show our gratitude by being generous?
Many are rich in loving relationships with friends and family. Good quality relationships are not automatic, do not come easily to all, are not enjoyed by all. When we connect with someone whose company we enjoy and who we learn that we can respect and trust, we have indeed found a true friend and a great treasure. A good marriage based in mutual caring, respect, trust, acceptance and appreciation is also a treasure beyond compare.
Another saying I have heard is "A Christian is someone who sees a beautiful sunset and knows Who to thank." James wrote, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (1:17 NIV) In other words, we can thank God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, for every good thing in our lives. After all, God created everything that exists, in the material realm, in the spiritual realm, and in any other dimension that may exist. He gave humans the ability and curiosity to explore, discover and use the elements of His creation in astonishing new ways. So whether we are thankful for the beauty and wonders of nature, for the human discovers and inventions which contribute so much to the high quality of our lives today, or for the people we know and love, we can thank God because without Him none of it would be here, nor would we. Most of all we can thank God for His love and care for us, for the joy of reconciliation with Him through Jesus Christ, for all His promises to us, especially for the promise of a wonderful life with Him forever. God is so great and so wonderful that it is always appropriate to give Him praise and thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!
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