11/22/12 Thanksgiving

I am thankful for every day.

It is a good way to live one’s life, being thankful for what one has. The more we are thankful for what we have, the less we focus on what it is we lack, or what we think we lack. Writing about this is not a new theme for me, and I have written exactly the same thing before on previous Thanksgiving days, and on previous occasions when things didn’t seem to be going my way, when the purposeful choosing of gratitude wiped out dark, foreboding, ominous feelings precipitated by things I lacked, or perceived I lacked.

Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45) What comes out of our mouth is the gauge of what is in our heart; may they be the fruitful words of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Today, I will add thanksgiving, though it serves us well everyday.

I have often heard people quick to use the verse where Jesus is quoted as saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) People whip this one out for their own convenience, mostly, and sometimes rightfully so, when we have set ourselves up as the Righteous Judge, which is not a title or office reserved for us. But in the passage from Luke, above, we clearly have a way to gauge what is in people’s hearts by hearing the words that come out of their own mouths. We cannot know their motives, nor can we always pick up on words that are deceptive or duplicitous, but over time, the words coming out of our mouth convicts us or vindicates us in the eyes of others.

Perhaps the best words recorded in the bible that came from anyone’s mouth, other than the words of Jesus, were FROM the words of Jesus, when in a parable He told us of a man and what he said:

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

There were two men in this parable Jesus told in the 18th chapter of the Book of Luke. Both men had words to say to God. You can go and read for yourself what Jesus said about them.

Words from our mouths can be deceptive, but they never fool God. And over time, when the words of our mouths that people hear fail to line up with the actions they see, we don’t fool them, either.

But words of Thanksgiving, even when we don’t FEEL thankful, have a way of changing us, if not forever, then at least for a time. It is when we feel the least thankful that words of thanks can bring about true gratitude and a sense of contentment. When we start to compile a list of things we HAVE, and begin to say them out loud, declaring our thankfulness for them, it has the remarkable way of soothing us in a way that cannot be truly comprehended, only experienced.

Spend this day being thankful for every moment of peace, every morsel of food, every minute spent with family and friends, and if we can’t be thankful for these things, then at the very least, we can be thankful that we are not walking about in the shoes of another, which may be very uncomfortable, indeed. Look down at your own feet. Are there shoes on them?

Well, then, what’s not to be thankful FOR? Whatever shape they’re in, they’re far better than NO shoes.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Thank you for this day. Thank you for this time. Thank you for the table that is set before me. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for your love and mercy. Thank you for a cup that overflows. Thank you for the living water which you have so freely provided for me to drink. Help me, through the words of my mouth and the touch of my hands, to share the abundance with which I have been so richly blessed. Help me to serve others in the way you would have me serve. Let me do all things, experience all things, and endure all things in a true spirit of thanksgiving.

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