· ·

Remembering to be Thankful

We’re here to help you learn and grow, so naturally, we share affiliate links for products that we use and love. When you click on one of these links, we will earn a small amount of money, at no additional cost to you, which we’ll use towards keeping the lights on here! You can read our full disclaimer here.

Last night, at Oasis, I delivered the message.  Typically I follow the Lectionary provided by the United Methodist Church, but none of the scriptures were speaking to me.  Instead I decided to focus on the season of Thanksgiving.  I gathered the ideas from various sources, but I think the overall message is one that speaks true for many people.  I know it’s something that I struggle with daily…remembering to give thanks.
I came across this little story from a sermon by Rev. Richard Fairchild that I’d like to share with you today:

One afternoon a woman was taking her much needed lunch break from her office.  She walked the short distance to a coffee shop.  She bought herself a little bag of cookies and put them in her shoulder bag.  She then got in line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and read.  Across the table from her a man sat reading a newspaper.

After a minute or two of reading, she reached out and took a cookie.  As she did, the man seated across the table reached out and took one too.  This put her off, but she did not say anything.

A few moments later she took another cookie.  Once again the man did so too.  Now she was getting a bit upset, but still she did not say anything.

After having a couple of sips of coffee she once again took another cookie.  So did the man.  She was really upset by this – especially since now there was only one cookie left.  Apparently the man also realized that and before she could say anything he took it, broke it in half, offered half to her, and proceeded to eat the other half himself.  Then he smiled at her and, putting the paper under his arm, rose and walked off.

Was she steamed!  Her lunch break ruined, already thinking ahead of how she would tell this offense to her family, she folded her magazine, opened her shoulder bag, and there discovered her own unopened bag of cookies.

I like that story, because it reminds me of how well God treats me even when I am not treating him very well or thinking all that kindly of him.  It also makes me think about how, sometimes, I do not really appreciate what I have or where it comes from.  Sometimes I can be really ungrateful. I get in one of those moods, usually triggered by a stressful day and then all I do is focus on negatives:

– why can’t I eat better
– why is my skin so blotchy
– how come I am not more successful
– when will I have more money
– why don’t I have more friends

It’s pretty much one big pity party, where I’m the only guest. These negatives run through my head non-stop during these days.  It’s on days like these that I need to be served a kind of reminder like that in the Old Testament reading from I Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verse eighteen:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

and in Ephesians, Chapter five, where Paul is telling new Christians how they should live:

“Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What I would give to give thanks in all circumstances; give thanks for everything; give thanks at all times.  I guess this is what we could call, “thanks – living”.  Though it would bring great joy to my heart and to God’s, it would also be a demanding kind of living, but also rewarding.  I say it is demanding – because quite frankly when I am feeling pressed to wall I find it difficult to fulfill the Word that says:

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

And when I am feeling a pity party coming on or am upset at a neighbor or a situation that didn’t go my way; I have difficulty feeling grateful to God for the circumstances I am in.

Instead of wanting to praise God – or to pray to him about the situation with thanksgiving,
– I want to feel sorry for myself and the trouble I am in
– I want to yell at the neighbor for being careless
– I want to yell at God for allowing me to feel this heartache

It works the same way everywhere, with everyone, even with God — when we remember… but we often forget – as the harder things get.  We allow the situation to swallow us up as well as all of the goodness in our lives.  God wants us to celebrate his love.  He wants us to give thanks in everything.

God doesn’t want this because he is greedy for praise, or want it so that he will feel better about himself, he wants it because it will bless us and because it will bless the world he has made for us.  He wants us to remember what He has done – so that we will not be afraid when we are in need of help, and so that we will not grow prideful and arrogant when things are going well.  He wants us to remember and give thanks to him, and to those around us – so that our lives will be full of light and hope and so our actions full of tenderness and love.

At the same time giving thanks blesses the person who is thanked and it transforms the person who gives thanks.

So today, I am going to remember my blessings.  And I’m not talking about big ones. I’m talking about small blessings that I take for granted everyday:

– my fully functioning body that I can run, jump, lift, and play with
– my family
– the few friends I have
– the ability to pay all my bills
– the fact I have a job
– my working car
– the home I get to come home to
– the food in my kitchen

And those are just a few. I have been so immensely blessed, and focusing on that is the only thing that can get me out of that pity party.  Focusing on my blessings almost makes me feel guilty. How can I be sad when I look at all that God has given me?

I know that I will continue to have my pity parties.  I don’t think the point is to rid myself of them.  I think the goal is to realize in the middle of my pathetic pouting, that I have more than some ever will.  That thought, along with the knowledge that I have a God who will continue to watch over me, should be more than enough to get me out of any pity party.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.