When I was growing up, my parents drilled into me the importance of saying, “Thank you” and I turned around and did the same thing with my children.
As I sit and reflect on this Thanksgiving week, I am reminded that saying thank you and having a heart of thankfulness can be and often are so vastly different from one another.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it is a shipwrecked-whipped-stoned-imprisoned Paul who reminds us to, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” This isn’t a suggestion, it’s a command.
It’s the way of life . . . for someone who follows Jesus.
In the very same breath, Paul instructs us to, “ALWAYS be joyful. NEVER stop praying.
Did Paul really expect a person who’s just been devastated by the loss of a spouse and then discovers the money’s gone, to be joyful and thankful in the circumstances they’ve been dealt?
How do you give thanks when the refrigerator blows, you can’t find your car keys and you’ve just been told that an outstanding hospital bill is being sent to the collectors?
Where do you find joy and thankfulness in the catastrophic and the mundane?
Jesus said, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart,and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. ” (Matthew 12.34-35)
So what are you treasuring?
What have you been caching away? Trust or doubt?
Joy and thankfulness come from a heart that trusts! Trusts that God is good. Trusts that He is for you. Trusts that when He says, “ALL things work together for good” . . . , He means it. You can’t expect to have joy and thankfulness, if you haven’t forged a life of trust.
It’s a choice, not a feeling!
What do you get from a heart that has stockpiled doubt? Discouragement. Hopelessness. Despair. There’s no room for joy and no room for thankfulness where doubt reigns.
Trusting in a God we can’t see doesn’t come naturally. Our propensity is to control, to carry the burden and say we trust God when we really don’t. Then we wonder why we struggle to find joy. We question how it is possible to be thankful in ALL circumstances.
What does the treasury of your heart look like? Do you have a storehouse of trust or a cache of doubt? Choose to trust! And joy and thankfulness will follow.