A letter written in a childish scrawl came to the post office addressed to "God." A postal employee, not knowing exactly what to do with the letter, opened it and it read: "Dear God, my name is Jimmy. I am 6 years old. My father is dead and my mother is having a hard time raising me and my sister. Would you please send us $500?" The postal employee was touched, and showed the letter to his fellow workers, who were able to raise $300, and sent it to the family. A couple of weeks later, they received a second letter. The boy thank God, but ended with this request: "Next time would you please deliver the money directly to our home? If you send it through the post office, they deduct $200."
The boy was thankful but not completely. How difficult is it for us to be completely thankful. Many of us, if the truth were known, suffer more from thanklessness. Thanklessness is dangerous to the point of being terrifying. Remember because of thanklessness, an entire generation of Israelites had to die in that "vast and dreadful desert." (Deut. 1:19) And Romans 1 states that people, who "although they knew God, neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him," slip into darkness and into far worse sins.
Ephesians 5:20 states, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul commands all believers to "give thanks always for all things." I confess that is a hard pill to swallow at times because I know that not all things are good in and of themselves. So how can I have that thankful heart? I can because in every situation, good or bad, we give thanks - not for the problems we face, but for God's presence with us in the midst of those problems and for the hope that God will use them somehow to accomplish good things.
Even Jesus thanked God for the deepest sorrows: the bread and the cup, symbols of His approaching death (Luke 22:17-19)- thus, turning his death into a blessing.
The famous bible teacher, Matthew Henry, seemed to have a handle on this subject. Once, when robbed by a thieves, he wrote in his diary: "Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my wallet, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."
So this week, as our thoughts turn to the subject of thanksgiving, as believers, let's be reminded that our thanksgiving is to be every day for God's abundance of grace. Especially, should we never forget that, if God never does another thing for us, He has already blessed us beyond anything that we personally deserve. For He, in His wonderful grace, has provided redemption, the forgiveness of sin and life eternal to all who have received Him. Luke, in his gospel, called that "mega" grace.
O Lord! that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.