Psalm 118:1, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.”
Psalm 79:13, “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”
I have had the privilege to see people transformed by the power of Christ, changing from grumblers to thankful people. Reformers Recovery Program uses an “It’s Personal Daily Journal” to help change our daily meditations. These meditations are centered upon Christ and His crucifixion and resurrection.
Can you start your Thanksgiving celebration with, “Thank you for saving me, Jesus!”?
While attending Bible College, I had a roommate named Jeff Johnson. Jeff and I became fast friends. I can remember something very specific about Jeff’s prayers. I never heard him pray without beginning with, “Thank you, Lord, for my salvation…for saving me.” It was always a positive, delightful experience to pray with my friend. But not only in his prayers; I also noticed that Jeff was positive and upbeat at all times.
We all know people (and perhaps you may have been one of them at one time!) who walk throughout their days grumbling instead of being thankful. People who see the glass half empty, instead of half full.
Sometimes we say it is just because of their personality. They are a “pessimist”. However, God gives us the command to “give thanks” and it is impossible to give something if you don’t have it in the first place!
As we set aside this day to be thankful, ask yourself these questions: Am I a grumbler? Do I give thanks in ALL things? Not sure? Here are three marks of a grumbler:
First, a grumbler is never satisfied with what he has. If it’s money, he never has enough. If it’s his home, somebody else has a nicer one. If it’s his grades in school, an A- is a disappointment. He is an expert in criticism and has a Ph. D. in nitpicking. Nothing is ever really enough.
The grass is always greener in someone else’s back yard, but if you paid their water bill, you would grumble about that. It’s amazing how people become instantly discontented after the newest phone comes out or the newest car is released!
Second, he always has an excuse. We learn to make excuses early in life. In fact, many parents teach their children how to make excuses at an early age. Here are some examples of excuses teachers have received, for not being at school or being late for school:
“Please excuse Sam for being absent. I forgot to wake him up and I did not find him until I started making the beds; but by then it was too late for him to go to school.”
“John didn’t come to school yesterday because he was feeling like he was going to be sick. Thankfully, he wasn’t!”
“Please excuse Janet’s absence from school. It was “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”; but since I don’t have a job, I made her stay home and do housework.”
(This is my all-time favorite!) “Please excuse Mary for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday.”
Though these may seem funny, excuses are the highway for discontented people. They are well traveled and almost in every direction. At some point, you will notice excuses leading back to a life filled with grumbling.
Third, he secretly believes he can never succeed. The key word is “secretly.” He may not even be aware that he has given up on life. But his grumbling gives him away. Down in his heart, the grumbler believes the game of life is rigged, the cards are stacked against him and no matter how much he tries, he is only going to fail again. Show him the glass of water and ask, “Is it half full or half empty?”, and he’ll say, “I don’t know, but the water is probably polluted.”
This Thanksgiving Day, can I encourage you to change your outlook, by looking upward? Christ truly is all we need. When you start each day with realizing your soul is saved eternally from Hell by a wonderful Savior, it only gets sweeter from there!
I will start my day something like this:
“Thank you Lord for saving my soul and making me whole. Thank you for my wife, who loves You and honors You. Thank you for my kids, Josh, and Caleb, and Hannah. Thank you they love You and want to serve You all the days of their lives. Thank you for my all those men I have called Pastor. Thank you for friends like Jeff, Jay, Tony, Mitch, Chris, Ryan…”
Let’s not live in dissatisfaction. Let’s stop making excuses. Let’s believe that with God, all things are possible!