In All Things Be Thankful
I think there are 12 pie crusts on our buffet awaiting the arrival of their first loves this morning. A bacon-laden turkey sits unaware that it will soon achieve it’s finest hour. And the house is spotless…which only happens about three times a year.
It’s Thanksgiving. And for the past few weeks I’ve watched social media explode with a menagerie of gratitude. From family to friends, from health to wealth, from cars to cats (which I still don’t understand), everyone is grateful for the good things this month.
And a few days ago, as I was reading my Bible, I came across this little gem-conviction in 1 Thessalonians 5: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Most days, it’s pretty easy to be thankful for the family. It’s fairly easy, especially in winter, to be thankful for a roof over my head, a job that provides, the standard fare of thankfulness.
But ALL circumstances challenges me – it makes me think deeper. So, as I sat in seclusion (code for bathroom) reading my Bible, I started thinking about all my complaints in this past year – stuff that, by most casual definitions, sucks. And I asked God to infuse some gratitude in my bad attitude about….
…college tuition. I mean, come on, people. He’s already smart – and now we’re paying $40K a year for that?! Enter gratitude, stage right. No – no, we’re not paying $40K for that. In fact, to date we’ve paid about $300. He’s smart. He received a ton of scholarships. And what he didn’t receive in scholarships, he paid himself with a business he began as freshman in high school. His tuition is an indication that he’s a good, smart man who is thriving in independence. And I am grateful that he makes choices based on wise, thoughtful ideas and the prompting of a God who is real and personal to him.
…a difficult transition. My job is hard and my team struggles and I work a lot of hours. Appreciation – take the platform. This time last year I was completely unemployed. We were dependent on the sacrifice and generosity of others to even insure food was on our table for Thanksgiving or any other day. Today, I’m in a job doing what I do best. My wife is home with our kids. Our kids are openly sharing with us about their difficulty in transitioning to a new high school. I’m being stretched and challenged as a leader…in ways I haven’t been in years.
…our HOA. Ugh. Gratitude knocks me in the head with a bat! I live in a gated community on a golf course. Last year, I lived next door to an abandoned house affectionately dubbed ‘The Hobo Village’ and just down the way was a house that I’m pretty sure wasn’t selling Mary Kay to all those guests they had. I had an in-ground swimming pool filled with just enough dirt that it required mowing. And the sky lights over my bed leaked every time it rained. Last night there was a knock at our door – and it never even occurred to me that we might be in danger. It was my neighbor letting me know I had left the garage door open.
…cats. Nope. Still not thankful for those.
It’s easy to give thanks for surface things that make us happy – contented – peaceful. It’s also easy to lose focus on those things when the mundane moments of life cast shadows on a seemingly sunny day.
What have you been complaining about? Invite Gracious to the party. He’s got something to say about the circumstances you’re facing. Some are hard, to be sure. And no amount of meditation will make them easier to face. Some simply got hijacked by temporal circumstances. But in all things, be thankful. It’s God’s will for all of us.