I know this is true for me, and I suspect it is true for most of you as well. We lose sight of things from time to time. It’s easy to do, but that doesn’t mean it is the best thing that we can do as well. Recently I realized that I was losing sight of something that I should be holding on to. Rather, I was focusing on something negative. I was letting the things that I don’t like or disagree with, or things I wanted to complain about fill my thoughts most of the time. I had forgotten to be thankful for the good things in my life.
And I have a lot of things to be thankful for. It’s just sometimes so much easier to focus on the negative. Because I am trying to stay away from those negative thoughts, I’m not going to list any of them in this post. But I have found myself complaining a lot. Not publicly. Not to anyone other than my wife or close advisors. Sometimes it’s just been complaining about things in my own head.
So I have decided to start intentionally looking for and focusing on things that I have to be thankful about. They should outweigh all of the negative things anyway. But for some reason it is just so much easier to focus on the negative. Maybe it’s just human nature.
There is a thing that happens every November, around Thanksgiving, that dominates social media. And no, I’m not talking about “No Shave November”. If you’ve seen a recent picture of me, you can see that I’m participating in that already. Most people call it something like “30 days of thankfulness” or something along those lines. They attempt to post things they are thankful for on social media each day of November.
While I am not necessarily looking to post something every day for a certain number of days, I am going to start trying to focus on things to be thankful for. I might even write a few posts from time to time about those things. Again, it’s just about trying to be intentional about being thankful. And as Christ followers, we have a lot of things to be thankful about. Jesus has paid the price for our sins, a price that we could have never paid for our selves.
James goes as far to say that we should even be thankful for our trials. The word thankful isn’t there, but the idea it. He says in James 1:2-3:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Paul writes about thankfulness in a majority of his letters, but I chose two of Paul’s quotes to share with you today. In his letter to the Ephesians he writes about always giving thanks to God for everything. He echoes those thoughts in I Thessalonians as well. Ephesians 5:15-20 and I Thessalonians 5:16-18 are recorded as follows:
Ephesians 5:15-20: 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As I said earlier, I have so many things to be thankful for. We all do. I could list a large number of things from my wife, to getting to help watch our little buddy Aaron that I’ve written about before, to my church and getting to preach God’s Word on a regular basis, the freedom we have to gather in worship, etc. But today, what got me thinking about all of this and made me realize I need to focus on things I am thankful for, it was actually something a lot of us take for granted. It’s actually a very small thing.
I’m thankful for a donated couch that I have in my office. I was having a hard time concentrating on anything when I came back from lunch. My head was pounding, I couldn’t focus, and because of all of that I was not going to be productive. I could just sense that was going to be my afternoon. So, I turned the lights off, stretched out, and took a short but refreshing nap. I woke up ready to go. I was focused again. Most of my headache was gone, and I sat down and typed this post out in about 30 minutes.
What are you thankful for today?
A couch is something that we take for granted. But today, it was just what I needed to refocus and get something done on a day in which I would not have gotten anything else productive done. So again, today I’m thankful for a donated couch that is in my office. I’m thankful for the rest that it allowed me to get today, so I could get some more things done. And I’m thankful that I am able to take time to do things like that to be able to continue working for the kingdom of God. What are you thankful for today?