In the United States, we have the privilege of celebrating a day dedicated to thankfulness. The day was first proclaimed a holiday on October 3rd, 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. Since then, Americans look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving every year with their family, friends, traditional foods, football, afternoon naps, and the soon closing of the fall season. It is great to have a day set aside to be thankful for our blessings with the people we care about the most, and hopefully this never gets lost in the busyness or monotony of tradition, but has meaning in our hearts.
Thankfulness is great to celebrate on a special day, but it would be a shame if we were only thankful then. Imagine going an entire year without ever thanking someone. It would be safe to assume that family, friendships, and business relationships would be hurt by a year of never thanking anyone. While it is good to celebrate this on a day, it is more important to live a life from a place of being thankful for the good things in life.
Thankfulness starts with recognizing that every good thing we have could be taken away at any time, and appreciating it for the value it is to us. Where did the food I eat every day come from? What if I had none? Most of us could answer that we did not grow all the food we eat. Most of us work a job, cash a check, buy a cart of food, bring it home, cook it, and eat it. So someone else probably grew the food that we eat, but how were they able to do it? Advanced farming techniques? Sure, but there is also weather. Without sun and rain, without insects to pollinate, without fertile soil, plants would not grow. There is a great degree of trusting and waiting involved in farming that most people are unaware of. They would be more thankful if they stopped to consider.
But what about the seed itself? Who can make a seed? Well, it had to come from a plant. But does every seed that is planted grow? No, of course not; only some of the seeds have the perfect condition to sprout and grow. A seed is a continuation of life, and that life was designed by God. You see, everything that we have around us eventually points us back to the Creator who made it all. The longer you stop and think even here, you have to recognize that God made the plant that made the seed, that made the plant, and so on. He created everything and He sustains everything.
True thankfulness must be directed toward a person. We do not thank the dirt for allowing us to walk on it. We do not thank the sky for allowing us to breathe. We thank the One who made it all, for each of the blessings, great and small, that shower our lives with goodness. Every good thing proceeds from God, and is given to us to show us how good He is.
God did not just create everything, but He also sustains it. God is totally in control of every situation. He knows the end from the beginning before it even happens. This should bring us great comfort and peace in every situation. When we know that God made it all, knows it all, and is in control, we can be thankful in every situation. This is why the Bible instructs us:
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”I Thessalonians 5:18
This means that God wants us to be thankful in every situation, even the situations we don’t understand, or that we think are bad, knowing that God is in control and resting in His will. We can thank God for all the good things we have and see around us. We can thank God for the trials and tests that grow us and strengthen us. We can thank God for the safety and blessings, and we can thank Him for the difficulty and suffering that brings us back to Him. We will have cause to rejoice when we are thankful in every situation, because this is God’s will for us.