Jonathan's Perspective  

Nov 23

Developing Thankful Hearts

The Psalmist captures the spirit of Thanksgiving in this simple verse: ‘The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.  You open your hand & satisfy the desires of every living thing.’(Ps.145:15-16) This is a beautiful vision of all living creatures looking to God for sustenance.  I picture baby birds in a nest cheeping and opening their mouths when the mother bird comes with food.  They know that she will feed them.  They trust her vigilant care.  Do you trust God’s daily provision – not so much with food, but the daily relationships and work?  When circumstances get tough do you become anxious?  Too much of the time we look inward for solutions, rather than upward to God’s wisdom and care.

Here are three ways that you can increase trust and thanksgiving in God’s daily provision. 

First, remember how precious you are to God.  Jesus said: ‘Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’ (Mt 6:25-33)  As you look at the beauty of creation, remember that you are more beautiful still to God.  You are so dear to God that he sent his only Son for you!  God wants and promises to take care of our daily needs.

Second, focus on what you have.  Epictetus wrote, ‘He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.’  Sometimes our envy of what others have causes us to forget all the good that we have, both tangible and intangible.  I remember going through a tight financial time and grumbling to God.  God didn’t let me go down that loosing path.  God challenged me by bringing to my mind all the blessing I had received in the previous months.  My attitude immediately changed from grumbling to gratitude!

Third, change the atmosphere in your home or office by saying ‘Thank You’.  Thankfulness has a snowball effect.  Gratitude increases the sense of well-being in the person who you thank which in turn makes them more grateful to those around them.  I challenge you to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone at home and work every day.  Express appreciation for what they do, as well as for who they are.  You will be amazed how thankfulness grows around you and within you.

I visited a mentor of mine, Dave Enochs, several weeks before he succumbed to cancer.  We talked about his life – family, work, friends, Scouting – and he was filled with joy.  He radiated gratitude and contentment despite his lack of energy.  With a twinkle in his eye he said to me, ‘Life is good, and getting better all the time!’  Dave lived in trust and gratitude, and we can do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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