One of the first lessons I learned as a child was the importance of “please” and “thank you.” My mom was adamant about these courtesies. She understood what I as a child did not: that failure to express humility in asking, or gratitude in receiving, indicates a spirit of arrogance and entitlement that no parent wants to see their children grow up with.
Well, as good a parent as my mother was, God is a better one. He, too, emphasizes the importance of a humble spirit in His children. That why throughout Scripture we are told over and over about the importance of being thankful for all He has done for us.
Of course, that spirit of thanksgiving is not reserved for any one day. But our yearly celebration of Thanksgiving Day provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how much we have truly shown ourselves thankful to God, versus the degree to which we have implicitly taken Him and His gifts for granted.
Here’s a little Thanksgiving self assessment that I have found helpful for myself:
If I were a fly on the wall in your house, what would I hear as you speak about the issues of your life?
- Would I hear you talking more about what you don’t have, or giving thanks for what you do have?
- Would I hear you talking about what’s wrong with your health, or praising God for all you are still able to do?
- Would I hear you complaining about how bad your job is, or telling everyone how thankful you are that God has provided a job?
- Would I hear you talking more about how much your husband or wife comes short of your expectations, or would I hear you giving thanks to them, and to God, for the good things they contribute to your life?
Thanksgiving Day is certainly a day to express our thanks to God. But more than that, it is a day that reminds us to have a thankful spirit all year long.