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And Be Thankful

by Russell Carnley
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"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful," (Col. 3:15). Gratitude is something that we should all feel and express. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and most are familiar with the story of the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. They were ill prepared for winter, having plenty of seeds to plant, but little food to eat. They met a native American who was able to speak English. He introduced them to his people and they traded and shared with one another. The pilgrims would not have survived except for this unlikely turn of events. Indeed, they had much to be grateful for, and this they understood. Thus the reason for the first Thanksgiving in the New World. In like manner, we have much to be thankful for in our lives. We should express our thanks to God frequently for the many blessings He gives us. If we fail to count our blessings we will be like those who came out of Egypt. These had witnessed a great deliverance from the cruel bondage of Pharaoh, only to complain for the rest of their days. This ingratitude coupled with a lack of faith resulted in forty years of wandering as this first generation fell in the wilderness (Exod. 16:3; Num. 14:29; 26:63-65). Such is sad indeed. But we have a better hope than this. Let us indeed be thankful...

For What We Have

God has given us many wonderful things in this life: a home in which to live, food to eat, and clothing to keep us warm. Many of us have good jobs, wonderful spouses, and beautiful children. We are truly living an abundant life. If we will simply wake up each morning and count the blessings of God, we will defeat discouragement, discontentment, and depression. The happiest and most affluent man in the world could sit down, count up his troubles, and walk away discouraged. In the same manner, a poor man can stand up, focus on the glory of God's wonderful creation, and count all of the good things God has given him, and walk away happy, blessed, and content. It's all in how we look at our situation. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (I Tim. 6:6-8) I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor it is the gift of God. Eccl. 3:12,13

For What We Do Not Have

As we ponder the good things that God has given us, let us not forget to thank Him for what He has not given us. This might sound ridiculous, yet it is true. Consider the words of Agur. Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. (Prov. 30:7-9)
This man knew the dangers of sin, and the importance of a godly life. Therefore he asked God not to give him some things that would make him stumble. We should be grateful that we are not all millionaires, or corporate executives, for this might well be too much for us to handle. It is a great blessing to know that God cares enough about us to withhold some things from us. As a father, my children ask me for things. Now if my child asked me for a pet rattlesnake, or a handgun, I would tell him NO! And this action would not be considered unloving by any competent adult. Yet my child might not like it. He might think that I am unfair, and that I don't care about him. But that is not true. Likewise, when we ask God, who is infinite in knowledge, for something that He knows will be harmful to our spiritual lives, He is not unloving when he does not give it to us. The exact opposite is true. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Mt. 7:11; see also James 1:17).

For What We Will Receive

Every child of God must keep in mind that this world is not our home. We are only sojourning here for a short time, until our heavenly Father brings us into our eternal abode. We should always be thankful that God has made provision for us to enter into that glorious place known as heaven. It is a place that stretches the imagination, and defies human description. We see wicked people on this earth dwelling in luxury and enjoying great fame and honor. But this glory is brief, and is fading quickly. We have a glory that will never fade. We are partakers of riches that cannot be corrupted (Mt. 6:20). To sit and ponder on the hope that we have in Christ is enough to make anyone rejoice. To think of the land of endless day ought to make all of us praise God. When we think of the great price that was paid for our eternity, how can we help but be thankful? Even if we have no clothes, no food, and no pillow upon which to lay our head. Even if we are burdened down with the cares and problems of this life, we ought to stop and consider the next. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us," (Rom. 8:18). Please take a moment and read John 14:1-6 and Romans 13:11-14. Ask yourself, "Am I ready to meet my Lord?"