For over twenty years I taught a Sunday School class of children aged six to eight years old. Every Christmas I would try to give my Sunday school pupils a small gift. I remember one year I gave a little metal car or truck to each of the boys in my class. As I handed the gifts out after class was over, one of the little boys threw his car violently down on the ground! He told me in no uncertain terms that he did NOT like the present I had brought him! In his words, “That’s NOT what I wanted!” I reached down, picked up the toy, and calmly told him that he didn’t have to take the present….that I would just take it and give it to some other little boy. Needless to say, that didn’t go over too well with him either! He then began to beg profusely to have the little car back. Of course, I gave it to him …but with mixed feelings. I was glad that in the end he decided he wanted my gift, but sorry that he had been so ungrateful in the beginning.
If we were to be honest, I wonder how many of those same selfish traits you and I exhibit in our everyday lives? When God gives us food to eat each day how many times do we turn up our noses if it’s not something rich and fattening? When God provides clothes to wear how often do we complain because they are not our favorite color or the latest style?
At times I am actually doing the same thing with gifts from God that my little student did with his Christmas gift. I throw my gift from God on the ground, stamp my feet, push my lips into a pout and say to Him…”That’s NOT what I wanted!” How childish and immature I must seem to Him. He deserves my thanks and praise always! He continually gives far and above more than I need. (“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12: 27-31 KJV)
As I tried to start writing something about Thanksgiving, all I could think about was how UN-thankful people…including myself…. have become. I know this is not right because we are told in the Bible that we should give thanks always. (“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Ephesians 5:20 KJV ) When I begin to think of all the things I should be (and am) thankful for in this life, the list is unending. I am above all most thankful for the grace that the Lord Jesus Christ has shown in saving me and giving me eternal life. (“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9: 15 KJV)
During this Thanksgiving season, I hope you will join with me as I try to be more aware of and more thankful for all God's many gifts (“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100: 4-5)
As you enjoy this week of Thanksgiving may you look back on it as a time of "Thanks-Given" to Him!