I thank my God every time I remember you. –Philippians 1:3
Thanksgiving Day is here again, and across our country, pastors are preaching sermons pointing out the need for Christ-followers to be thankful people. As a pastor, I’ve made impassioned pleas for Christ-followers to rise above our culture…to resist the temptation for the holiday season to be simply another opportunity for us to be self-focused and self-indulgent. Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating to the brink of explosion; shopping to the brink of bankruptcy; watching television to the brink of insanity. I’ve tried to make the point that Thanksgiving for a person who loves God can be so much more.
Even so, I discovered in my own life that despite what I’ve preached, I have missed a crucial element in the process of being a thankful follower of Jesus in my own life. I found that over the years I have been mostly thankful for the THINGS in my life; for food, finances, the house I have lived in, the clothes I have worn, and so on. While there’s nothing wrong with being thankful for these things, I have missed the boat on giving thanks for the biggest blessings of God in my life…PEOPLE.
Consider how empty, purposeless, and meaningless our lives would be without relationships. Relationships have shaped who we are and who we are becoming. Without exception, everyone I know has been positively influenced by other people. While it is easy to thank God for the THINGS in our lives, we should remember to be equally thankful for the PEOPLE God has placed in our lives as well!
Let me give you just one example. I am thankful for my Aunt Patty. She had suffered a brain injury when she was a small child severe enough that by the time I was born, she had become mentally disabled. But, when I was a child, she would play games and entertain me for hours. She loved me unconditionally. We would play The Beatles records and pretend to be Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It was her love for music that infected my soul for the rest of my life. I thank God for her!
How about you? Who do you thank God for? Today, take a few moments and thank God for the relationships in your life. Truthfully, it can revolutionize your life. Happy Thanksgiving!
1. Make a list of the people who have shaped your life. Share the list with your friends and family.
2. How easy is it to just thank God for things in your life? How can you live a lifestyle of thankfulness more consistently?
Psalm 150; Philemon