Today in Canada is “Thanksgiving Day!” Typically, it is a day for reflecting and feasting on the good things of the earth, of others, and of God. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” begins Psalm 92, and science has further demonstrated it.
Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.
Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough asked a group of study participants to write a few sentences each day about things for which they were grateful that day. They asked another group to record their daily irritations and negative experiences. After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives, they had begin to exercise more and had fewer visits to a doctor than the group who tracked negative things.
Gratitude improves relationships with spouses, co-workers, shopkeepers, anyone with whom social interactions occur – including God!
A thankful heart “does good, like medicine,” wrote Solomon (Prov. 17:22); it is “good medicine,” “good for your health” as some translations put it. But a broken, saddened, thankless heart “dries the bones,” it “saps a person’s strength,” it will “leave you bone-tired.”
A thankful heart’s first “go to” response is gratitude. It’s default world view is that It is blessed! It is a contented heart, a happy heart. It teaches one to appreciate what one has instead of always reaching for the next new thing.
From a dank and dreary prison cell Paul writes the Philippians,
“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11b-13).
Paul says he had to “learn” contentment… thankfulness. He did! And so can you! Learning is worth the course. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6).
Thankfulness makes one rich! How? A thankful heart has learned that true wealth is not found in having many things, but in having few wants.
The Christian ought demonstrate thankfulness above all. A Christian has Christ and has found that Christ alone satisfies all wants. A Christian has found peace with God. He has surrendered self and is unafraid to die. A Christian knows he is eternal and that his eternity is very good indeed.
Today, be Thankful….”be content… because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Gen. 13:5).
THANKSGIVING BONUS: Click here to link to a special Thanksgiving Worship Special with Christian recording artist Becka deHaan!