Just the other day I was working on the computer and I had a computer problem that only occurs every now and then. It was an issue that does not happen very much but, when it does, it completely frustrates me. This computer issue was one of those things I was not ready for and it caught me off guard. My attitude was far from “thankful”.
If we were to sit down over a cup of coffee or dessert, I bet you could tell me a story or two when you were also frustrated at some thing or some person and it was difficult to “flip the switch” to thankfulness.
How do we develop thankfulness in our lives?
First, we must continually be in God’s Word so that His heart of thankfulness flows through us in times when we are tempted to respond differently. Life can throw us more curve balls than just computer problems. We need the strong foundation the Word of God brings. The Psalmist in Psalm 119 knew this all too well: “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” (vs. 28) As we submit to God, through His Holy Spirit, and spend time in the Bible, we are changed and a heart of thankfulness emerges.
Second, serve others, which takes the focus off our own circumstances. “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) When we begin to transfer our despair from our own situation to helping someone else, we benefit perhaps more than the person we are serving. God made us to serve one another. Who can you serve today?
Third, choose to be thankful. This may seem like a simplistic step but becoming a person of thankfulness is a matter of choice. My wife, Andrea, began us on a path of annual thankfulness when we were first married. At the end of every year, we go back throughout the previous twelve months and write down all the things God did in our family. This practice has infused a spirit and practice of thankfulness in us that is invaluable. The daily choosing of thankfulness is also important for our relationship with God no matter the situation.
There is great benefit to being thankful. May we be thankful people for the glory of God.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at www.OneMaster.org.