I was sitting in my chair this morning, with my heart and mind fully engaged. Our two youngest ones came in and wanted to visit. We talked a few minutes and then an idea came. I keep these little sticky tags by my chair to mark places I want to remember. I gave each of them a stack and said to go around and mark the things you are thankful for. One of them immediately placed a tag on me and made me smile. We now have tags all over and I am going to leave them for awhile to remember.
Being thankful is not something to be marked on one day of the year, it is a way of life and heart. One of my favorite things we started this summer as a family is to write things we are thankful for in a journal. After dinner we remain at the table, read scripture, pray, encourage and record things to be thankful. I know I have mentioned this before. The pages are filling up fast and it is beautiful! Somedays the words flow easy and somedays they need a bit of encouragement. It has become another discipline, seeing thankfulness in the big and small. One child is forever thankful for candy and another his teacher. Often there is a precious couple on our list that have blessed our family with friendship, wisdom, example, kindness, encouragement and gifts. How do you even begin to repay? For us, thankfulness and seeing each as being something only the Lord could have orchestrated, is the only thing we know to do.
As we have grown up a bit, expectations have been taken off of people, especially family, and we see so many unexpected blessings everyday. When your heart shifts to love, the eyes and ears function differently. A routine trip to Walmart becomes a place to speak a kind word, meet someones eyes and smile. If you ever are there, take notice of their store brand. It is called “Great Value” and it will remind you that everyone you are shopping beside is of great value to God and should be to you too. God sent His Son to die for their sin, just like He did for yours and He loves them too. I wonder how many know this good news? A look in some eyes tells me they do not. We should never be in such a hurry that we miss people.
When life is hard, boring, happy, lonely, changing, exciting, new and the list could go on and on, remember truth. Remember the life that is to come and thankfulness will return. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” (Hebrews 12:28 NIV). Somedays just the reminder that this world is temporary and I cannot even imagine what is to come, keeps my eyes off the troubles I see. It is when I forget that my heart beats quick, I try and plan my way out or act a bit less than lovely. The Lord convicts my heart, I repent and remember.
When we read the story in John 4 about the woman who meets Jesus at the well, it shows us an incredible example of thankfulness. Read it for yourself, but I will share a bit with you. “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward Him.” (John 4:28-30 NIV). Funny how the love of One and His grace made this woman respond. She invited others to meet Jesus. After spending time with Him, the people she invited to meet Jesus respond with belief of their own. “They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42 NIV).
I know I have written on this story before, but it is one of my favorites. What would happen if we responded like this woman, who just could not seem to help being thankful for Jesus and the forgiveness of sin only He can offer? Could our thankfulness spill over like hers? Absolutely! Look at this verse with me. “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people…” (1 Timothy 4:10 NIV). Thankfulness seems to be something that takes effort at first and during different phases of life. Yes, it may seem we have to labor and strive to be thankful, but will it not be worth it? Our Savior deserves nothing less from we, His people, who have “hope in the living God”. It will change you forever and you will never be the same. Plus, Walmart trips get a lot more exciting!
I pray this encourages you in these days before Thanksgiving!
*Picture was taken by Corrimages