Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And, trust me, I love Thanksgiving Day. I love celebrating a tradition our country has held for several hundred years, and I love all the food too. My wife and I are hosting our first thanksgiving this year, with several family members flying up to see us in Portland. Noelle is slightly nervous about making the turkey - her first one - but we've already practiced on a whole chicken and did very well, so I'm confident she'll be just fine. But this post isn't exactly about Thanksgiving day... it's about giving thanks in general.
I Timothy 4:4-5 says "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer." Think about that... everything created by God is good. In this day and age, that verse flies in the face of popular thinking which favors the spiritual over the physical. I know I, for one, find myself sometimes feeling guilty if I'm enjoying physical things, created things. I trick myself into believing that God is most happy with me when I am totally detached emotionally from beautiful sites and good food, thinking instead that I should enjoy him spiritually. While we should enjoy God spiritually - meaning, regardless of our circumstances, or in the middle of tough times, or in the ordinariness of most of life - we as Christians are unique among the world in that we know God is the God of all things physical and made us to enjoy physically pleasing things. Everything created by God is good... the eggs I had for breakfast on an English muffin; the turkey in my refrigerator with which I'll make a sandwich for lunch, the lettuce and fixings that will make a salad later tonight. All of these simple things, created by God, are good. And they are to be received with thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Obvious enough ideas, I know. But are you thankful? To give thanks regularly is to pause and remind yourself and those you are with that God has made things good. We, sinful mankind, abuse what he has made and we are not thankful for what he's done in giving us good things. But as Christians, with minds renewed by God's Spirit living in us, can give thanks today for all he has made. Take some time today, and the next day and the next, to give God thanks for simple and good things you have. Repent of constantly focusing on what you don't have, on what you think you should have. Give thanks.