It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is upon us. Christians everywhere will be giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness, His protection, and His Sacrifice on the Cross so we could have eternal life.
As I reflect on the past year, I think of the many things I am grateful for—Jesus Christ as my Savior, my husband, my daughters, extended family, friends, health, home, and employment. Sometimes, though, we only think of the “big” things we are thankful for like those things I mentioned above.
What about the seemingly “small” things we are thankful for that we sometimes overlook? Below are a few that came to my mind in no particular order:
I’m thankful for water. According to World Vision, “Globally, 844 million people lack access to clean water”. How many times do we go to the faucet and grab a glass of water without giving it a second thought? Praise God that when we are thirsty, that thirst can be easily quenched.
I’m thankful I can breathe. According to WebMD, millions of Americans have breathing problems, including asthma, allergies, COPD, and lung disease. This hits home, as multiple people in my family struggle with lung and breathing problems. How many times do we take it for granted that we can easily take a breath? That we can breathe freely and uninhibited?
I’m thankful for the ability to read. According to uis.unesco.org, “Despite the steady rise in literacy rates over the past 50 years, there are still 773 million illiterate adults around the world, most of whom are women”. Whether they were never taught or suffer from a learning disability, there are a high number of people who cannot read. Yet, I read things every day and don’t give it a second thought that some people don’t have that ability.
I’m thankful for those who risk their lives each day to bring the Good News to those around the world. We in the United States so far face minimal persecution when it comes to sharing our love for Jesus. Our missionaries in other nations are not so fortunate. As I read The Voice of the Martyrs website, my eyes were opened to the sacrifices our Christian brothers and sisters make each day to share the hope of eternal life with the lost around the world.
I’m thankful for food to eat. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were both diagnosed with multiple food allergies. At times, it can be a challenge to find things to eat, especially at restaurants. Yet, so many people in the U.S. and around the world have no food to eat —at all. They would love to only have allergies to a handful of foods—if it meant they had food.
I’m thankful I haven’t been involved in a devastating hurricane, earthquake, or tornado. Several years ago, we suffered severe exterior damage to our home and vehicles during a bad hail storm. When we returned home from our vacation, our yard looked as though it had suffered a major catastrophe. Tree limbs were everywhere, our garden and fence were ruined, the new siding and roof on our house destroyed, and two of our vehicles totaled.
A few days after the hail storm, our church was seeking volunteers to assist with the devastation caused by a deadly tornado in the southern part of the country. As our family discussed being a part of this outreach, I was overcome with gratefulness and humility that it was only a relatively minor hailstorm we were dealing with and not a horrific storm where lives had been lost.
I’m thankful for dirty dishes. Yes, you read that right. I know, most people wouldn’t say “thanks” for the sinkful of food-corroded crusty dishes from last night’s dinner. However, I am thankful because if I didn’t have those dirty dishes, I wouldn’t have had food to feed my family. Same goes for dirty laundry. While it may not be my favorite task, I’m thankful we have clothes to wear, and therefore, clothes that get dirty.
I’m thankful for my church family. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to belong to the Body of Christ and how thankful I am that I can walk through the doors of my church and learn about the Lord and share fellowship with other Believers. What is also amazing are the connections made through social media with Believers around the world. I have a prayer ministry on Twitter that allows me to pray for my brothers and sisters across multiple continents in their time of need.
We need each other. We need fellowship. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us just how important meeting together is and that we need to continue doing so. First Thessalonians 5:11 says it well, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”. We are to come alongside each other, assist each other through difficult seasons, and pray for one another.
I’m thankful I can see and hear. As I sit typing this, my girls are in the kitchen laughing about something. Thank You, Father, that I can hear their joy! I’m thankful for sight too – the snow-capped mountains in the distance and the puffy white clouds in the sky are such a testament to His Creation. I’m also thankful that the Lord opened my eyes to see my need for Him!
That’s a shortened version of “small” things I’m thankful for. As I look back on my list, I realize they’re not “small” things at all, but big and important things.
My oldest daughter is a logophile – someone who loves words. Every day, before I begin work, she opens a tab on my computer for Dictionary.com for the “word of the day.”
Today’s word? Thanksgiver. The definition, according to Dictionary.com is a person who gives thanks.
We remember to be thankful on Thanksgiving. But in truth, we should express gratitude several times a day, every day of the year.
Below are a few of the many reasons to express our gratitude to a faithful God who has blessed us beyond measure.
He is deserving of our praise.
He tells us to “…give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18a). Not always easy in those times of trial that we all experience. But His grace and mercy sees us through even the worst of times.
He gave us eternal life. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).
When we have a grateful heart, we are less apt to complain or look dismally at our circumstances, no matter how bleak they may seem.
It reminds us how dependent we are on Him.
His love endures forever (Psalm 136:1).
It is a way to express worship to our Creator.
A grateful heart comes humbly before the Lord and realizes all that He has done.
Gratitude reminds us of how much we have, not how much we lack.
One of the ways I have found to be especially important in showing thankfulness is by staring a gratitude journal.
At the end of each day, list the things you are grateful for in a notebook or journal. It’s humbling and amazing the things we forget that the Lord has done.
How often do I thank the Lord for His many blessings? The gift of His Son? Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross? That He chose me to be His? For food on the table? Good health for my family and me? His protection? My husband’s job?
Speaking of His protection, how many times does God protect us and we don’t even realize it? The car accident that could have happened. The illness we avoided. The lurking, unseen dangers that He has saved us from. By His grace, we emerged unscathed from potential dangers we never even gave thought to.
Not only today, but everyday, be a thanksgiver. Come before the Throne with humility, thanksgiving, and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.