I really want to focus all my thoughts this week on being thankful as Paul was thankful.
We don't hear Paul say, "for health and strength and daily food, we give you thanks, O Lord." Paul makes no reference to the blessings we often speak of when we offer thanks--no mention of friends and family here. Usually we give thanks for something: I am thankful for good health, an education, a loving family, good friends, an autumn maple tree flaming red. We have been taught from childhood to "count our blessings," to be grateful for what we have.
In contrast, Paul invites us to be grateful. Simply be grateful. It doesn't mean we don't rejoice in the blessings we can count, but that our sense of gratitude is not dependent upon these things.
"Rejoice in the Lord always." With these words Paul helps us live into a different understanding of what gratitude is, of who God is and who we are.
Paul invites us to see God in a different way. I want to see "thankfulness" as Paul has seen it. This is a wonderful example for us to follow.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough."
- Meister Eckhart, (1260?-1320?)
"Throughout history wise men and women have encouraged us to feel grateful for what we have. Why? Very simply because gratitude makes us feel good. When you're feeling grateful, your mind is clear, and therefore you have access to your greatest wisdom and common sense. You see the big picture."
- Richard Carlson, Ph.D., (1995)
I am thankful that God has given me hands to type my devotion, eyes to see the scriptures and lips to speak to others about what God has done for me.