We live in a world where many thankless and ungrateful attitudes are expressed each day. In this Thanksgiving season it is good for us to take a look at our own attitudes. The virtue of gratitude is not native to our humanity, it is something that we need to cultivate.
Thankfulness finds its basis in at least three aspects.
First, we must have a strong faith in God, believing that He is sovereign and confident that we can place our trust in Him. As we view God, ourselves, and life in a proper perspective, we are prepared to approach life with a thankful heart. Rather than viewing life with circumstances in focus and thinking how terrible we have it, we must view life with God in focus, and then we will notice our blessings.
Second, we must possess an unselfish attitude toward ourselves and our possessions. By nature we are prone to complain and notice the negative aspects of life and also the faults of others. A complaining and discontented person focuses mostly on himself and finds plenty of reasons why his surroundings should be different. Complainers are constantly comparing themselves with others whom they feel have it so much better. We see ourselves and our situation seems so bad. Let us not become so near-sighted in life that we fail to look about us and see God's goodness. A spirit of thankfulness brings life a new perspective.
Third, we must appreciate the gifts and blessings we receive from God and man. When God is the basis of our outlook on life, we view ourselves as the blessed recipients of our heavenly Father's manifold mercies rather than victims of unpleasant circumstances.
The song writer reminds us to "Count you many blessings . . . and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." Then, too, when we look for opportunities to help others and share our blessings with them, it helps place our own difficulties in proper perspective.
The proof of our thanksgiving lies in our thanks living.
- Carl E. Martin