Alway giving thanks to God the Father in everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
During my childhood in the 1950s, after school, we ran around outside playing until dusk. Often, the local bakery truck driving through our neighborhood rang a bell, much like the ice cream trucks today. If we obeyed our grandmother, sometimes she rewarded us.
Mama Tuck handed us money and said, "Here’s a quarter; go pick out a treat but wait until after dinner to eat it. ”
We climbed on board with coins clasped in our hands; stood there, picked up, and put back packaged donuts, cookies, cakes, and pies multiple times before deciding which one to buy. We were so excited to have cookies or candy that we weren’t always obedient. Instead, we ripped open the package and devoured the treat.
Four generations sat around the large table at suppertime. All conversation revolved around our mom, her parents, and our great grandmama. Children sat in silence, did what we were told, and didn’t contribute to adult discussions.
Occasionally, we ate candy, then refused dinner. Mom said, “Children are starving.”
If we continued whining, pouting, and ignoring instructions to eat our dinner, then we became the center of their conversation. Those situations did not end well.
Mom always encouraged us to be thankful. Her comment was a subtle reminder of our blessings because we failed to realize that many sins originate from ingratitude. Our grandparents blessed us with a loving home and hot, nourishing dinners, while some children don’t have a bed or a simple meal. We balked at meats and vegetables we didn’t like, not realizing many have little or nothing to eat. One of the Ten Commandments is covetousness. In II Timothy unthankful is in a list of many sins.
II Tim. 3:2-4 (KJV) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
The practice that makes your spirit strong is gratitude for life’s blessings. Expressing thanks to God and others brings contentment, which is a virtue. Recognizing and acknowledging the good things in our lives that come from the Lord brings joy. In addition, gladness boosts our confidence in God to accomplish the impossible.
Father God, we are thankful for every blessing upon our lives, it’s your presence that gives our lives meaning.
What are you thankful for that brings you the joy of the Lord?