A Thanksgiving Day editorial in the newspaper told of a school teacher who asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. Even though many of her students were from economically struggling families she thought they would probably draw pictures of turkeys on tables with food. One boy’s picture was a traced hand. Many in the class started to try to guess whose hand it was. Some guesses included God’s hand, a farmer’s hand, or a pilgrim’s hand. When all was quiet the teacher asked about the hand. He whispered back, “It’s your hand, Teacher. You have done so much for me your hands make me thankful (Author unknown). When we have as much as we do it is hard to be thankful. The power goes out. Do you moan and groan, or are you suddenly thankful for electricity? Our garbage is not picked up. Do we whine and complain or are we thankful for the garbage collector? You get the picture.
The Bible is full of scriptures that tell us to be thankful all the time, no matter what is happening because God is always working for our good. It may not seem like it when life is really hard, but He is. In Psalm 9:1 we read, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Some other powerful texts on God’s desire to bring blessings into our lives through everything that happens to us include Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 7:7-12, and Romans 8:28.
Last week I offered three ways to become more thankful. Learn to adore God, literally count your blessings every day, and think outside the box to find creative ways to be thankful. Today I want to add four more things you can do to become more thankful.
First, compliment and thank your spouse a minimum of once a day. If we have a great marriage and a great faith, God and our spouse will help us win every victory over the struggles of life. Anything we do to grow closer to our spouse is time well invested in our joy in life. Complimenting and thanking our spouse will keep us from taking him/her for granted, and help keep the flames of romance alive in our marriage.
Second, comes from Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Cynical, skeptical, sarcastic words reveal an unthankful heart. If we are committed to building others up with our words we will be happier ourselves, and people will want to be around us more. Curse words should be avoided as well. Have you ever cursed with a big smile on your face and a heart full of joy?
Third, do not compare yourself to others. We rarely have the wisdom and insight to compare ourselves to those who have less than us (which is the vast majority of everyone that lives in the world). We always compare ourselves to people we think are smarter, richer, or more beautiful. Social media magnifies this way of thinking as people only post about their great successes, fun parties, and exciting things in their lives. Comparing ourselves to others is a sure way to build an unthankful heart.
Fourth, don’t focus on yourself at all, but get out and help other people. This is a great way to become more thankful, especially as the holidays come up. There are so many opportunities to help people. Don’t miss the chance to put your faith into action, which will lead to a more thankful spirit.
When was the last time you complimented and thanked your spouse on the same day? Don’t let another day pass without doing both. Do you use words that build others up? Do you curse? What areas of your life do you find yourself comparing to others? What was the last thing you did to help someone else? What will be the next thing you do? I hope you will take seriously these specific ways to be more thankful. It will change the way you look at everything.
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