The Exercise of Thankfulness
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Every year, on the fourth Thursday in November, the USA celebrates a festival called ‘Thanksgiving’. It’s origins lie in the sailing of a ship called the Mayflower in 1620 which left Plymouth harbour in the south of England carrying 120 religious separatists who were looking for a land where they could freely practice their faith without fear of persecution.
After landing and settling in the ‘New World’, the first ‘Thanksgiving’ was celebrated by the Pilgrims in October 1621, after having gathered in their first harvest. Thanksgiving celebrations were practised on and off for over two hundred years until, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, “proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, calling on the American people to also, "with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience .. fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation…” (Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, the attitude of gratitude that marked the early Pilgrims has given way to an attitude of ingratitude and sense of entitlement which has permeated not only American society but the society of the Western world and, if we’re honest, much of planet earth. It has become one of the greatest pandemics of our age.
Charles Spurgeon taught that it was “ ‘A heavenly thing to be thankful.’ After all, it was gratitude which ‘ought to teach us the divine object of grace.’ He longed for his heart to burn with the ‘sacred flame of thankfulness.’
Billy Graham preached that ‘nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. And nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness.’ He also went on to say, “From one end of the Bible to the other, we are commanded to be thankful.” Here are two of these commands:
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." (Psalm 100:4-5)
"Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Elsewhere we read;
“One of the best things about thankfulness is that the more you choose it, the easier it gets. The more you profess gratitude, the more you notice things to be grateful for. The thankfulness muscles respond to exercise!” (www.worldvisionadvocacy.org)
Are there some muscles of thankfulness that you need to start exercising today? If so, don’t wait. Remember that…
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
Let’s get exercising!
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