"because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21
We've had a recurring theme lately in our messages at church, and they all seem to center around thankfulness. It's a great theme to have in mind, because all too often, our experiences become everyday and we cease to be thankful in the monotony of being. Instead, we should be mindful and keep at the forefront of our minds that every single day is a gift from God. Every single experience is from the Lord, and we should be thankful for the opportunity to walk through it. And even when the devil tries to pull something and attack us, God gives us the tools we need to emerge victorious, and we should be thankful in all circumstances.
Paul tells us above in Romans that when the people ceased to be thankful, their hearts were darkened, and you know, I can totally see how that happens. Especially when trials come. But it's in those moments that we need to focus on God and be thankful in all circumstances.
" in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
There's a silly saying out there that that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It may be a bit harsh, but there is a grain of truth in there. When we're experiencing trials and tribulations and walking through something difficult, we can be thankful that someday there will be an end. And when we get to the other end, we'll have grown so much and become much stronger in our faith and understanding.
But we have to start somewhere. Sometimes it seems so dark around us that it can be difficult to find something, anything to be thankful for. Start there. Find the smallest thing and thank God for it. Even if it's something silly. Yesterday I was thankful for a fresh tomato from the garden. Today I'm thankful that our weather has cooled down a bit. Some days I have to be thankful that God has given me knowledge on cooking so that I can take the nothing that's in the pantry and turn it into something. Some days I have to be thankful for video games, because it's something the kids and I can do together and have fun and not go out and spend money we don't have on fun. Most days I am thankful that I have a husband who values hard work. When he's not out actively working to earn a paycheck, he's at home doing all the yucky jobs I don't like doing around the house.
The thing is, when you begin to be thankful for the smallest of the small things, you start looking for opportunities to be even more thankful. And when you have that mindset, the smallest things start to become big victories! When someone gives us a small bag of snacks for the kids I can be thankful immediately, because we've actually run out of snackie type foods, and it shows me that God even cares about the silliest things like snacks. I sure was thankful last week when our e-mail began working again! Let me tell you, I thought my heart was going to burst with joy when I received that phone call that our account was back to normal. Something so silly, and yet I was incredibly thankful and joyful.
We tend to focus on being thankful at certain times of the year, or in certain seasons of life. Here in America we celebrate Thanksgiving, and the weeks leading up to it are filled with notes about being thankful, which is wonderful, but we need that attitude year-round. Generally in life when we say goodbye to someone who has passed away we are reminded of all the experiences with that person for which we are thankful. How much more meaningful would it be to remember those things while that person is still with us? When we can say thank you directly to that person for making a difference in our life.
With an attitude of thankfulness we can change the atmosphere around us for the better. So take the challenge today! Find one thing to be thankful for and thank God for it. No matter how small or big, it's a perfect start, and then take that attitude of thankfulness into tomorrow and the next day and the next day until your heart is so full of thankfulness it's about to burst.
Let's be thankful for today and thankful for tomorrow. They are going to be great days.