“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16 (NIV)
So, ’tis the season to be thankful. Everywhere you look, people are talking about being thankful, and focusing on expressing thankfulness; even posting the reasons they’re thankful on social media daily.
But you know what? Being “thankful” does not automatically mean we are being thank-full. Being thankful for the good things is really just being glad we are benefiting from those good things and appreciating God’s blessings upon us. But being truly thank-full requires looking beyond our blessings, to the One who blesses. It’s about being full of gratitude for Christ, not just being full of thanks for what He has given us or done.
If someone were to ask me today to spontaneously list the things I am thankful for, my list would probably be very similar to yours — food, a home, clothes, family, jobs, transportation, friends, health, etc. Each of these things are huge blessings, and tremendous reasons to be thankful, all of which I am very grateful for.
Is appreciating those blessings which I can physically touch or see really creating a solid attitude of thank-full-ness? Do I still feel thank-full when life is hard?
What about when we feel we don’t have anything to be thankful for from this past year? What about those of us who are out of work, lost homes, had children stray from the Lord, had marriages split up or received a challenging health diagnoses? What about those grieving the loss of someone they loved or struggling with other issues?
Thanksgiving isn’t just about counting our blessings.
Thanksgiving Day originally started with the Pilgrims, a group of believers who in the midst of extreme hardship, loss of loved ones and minimal food and supplies, still believed they were extremely blessed. They chose to celebrate and thank God for His blessings even though life was difficult and their blessings were few.
See Luke 17:11-19 about a man whose heart was so focused on Jesus that he forgot about his suffering.
There will always be things we may not feel thankful for, but we can still be thank-full by putting a different focus on what thankfulness really is. Open the door of your hearts to be transformed as we focus not on just thanking God for our blessings, but thanking Him for being the One who blesses.
Psalm 107:1, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures