I've been thinking about thankfulness lately. I know it's not November, which is of course our traditional time of reflecting on our level of thankfulness, but nevertheless it's been on my mind. Two aspects of thankfulness jump out to me:
1. How good are we at giving thanks when we should?
We're quick to ask, "God where are you?" in the midst of the tough times but why do we not ask that same question in the midst of the good times?
When relationships are struggling...God where are you?
When finances are tight...God where are you?
When we'd rather not share a last name with our kids...God where are you?
When we're being downsized...God where are you?
Why is it that God is always at the forefront of our thinking when times are lean and tough? When something isn't going right, it's God fault. We deceive ourselves into thinking that God hasn't been holding up his end of the bargain. Perhaps we've not properly understood God's role in the world. God is not our genie. God is not our butler. God has never promised that as a Christ follower our lives would be free of suffering or pain or disease or heartbreak. What if we started thanking God even in the midst of the rough patches? What if we started viewing our setbacks as setups for God to move in our lives?
What if we viewed our heartbreak as a new opportunity for thankfulness as God begins the process of healing our hearts? What if we viewed our tight financial picture as opportunity to thank God when He provides for our needs? What if we viewed our kid's mistakes as a chance to model thankfulness for the forgiveness of sins? What if we viewed our downsizing as yet another opportunity to thank God for His faithfulness?
2. How good are we at giving thanks to whom we should?
Isn't it interesting that God's role in our lives can seem ever so slightly diminished when we become super successful? Why does God take a backseat when things are coasting along free of the bumps and bruises that life can so often throw at us?
Here's a question to consider, in the quietness of your mind free from all judgement and Sunday School answers: attempt to answer this question with complete honesty:
When you achieve, when you succeed, when you thrive: who gets the real credit? Ultimately, God may be the one to receive it, but who gets the credit first?
What if we peeled back the layers of our thankfulness and really came face to face with the possibility that we don't give God the thanks that He deserves? You see, too often we forget that God is the source of all the we possess. He created us in His image and every ability, gift, talent, knowledge and know how originate in HIM. What if we got into the habit of giving God the "First Fruits" of our thankfulness?
What if our first response, regardless of whether or not the situation was big or small, good or bad, ordinary or extraordinary, what if our first response was thankfulness to God?