Thankful People Are Happy People

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. 
– Psalm 136:26

Some years ago, a woman was standing on top of a 54-story building in New York City. She was ready to jump to her death and the police suicide squad was taking her extremely seriously. She didn’t look the type in her expensive dress and distinguished appearance, but regardless of her appearance, every attempt to convince her to get down from the ledge ended in failure. One of the police officers called his pastor to pray. His pastor said he would come right over and see if he could help. When this wise minister appraised the situation he asked the captain if he might try to get close enough to talk with the woman. The captain shrugged and said, “What do we have to lose?”

The pastor started walking toward her, but she screamed as before, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!” He took a step backward and called out to her, “I’m sorry you believe no one loves you!” This got her attention and also the attention of the suicide squad because it was so unorthodox. The pastor went on to say, “Your grandchildren must never have given you any attention.” At this statement she took a step toward him and emphatically replied, “My family loves me and my grandchildren are wonderful — I have eight grandchildren.” The pastor took a step toward her and said, “But you must be very poor to be so desperate to jump.” She looked at her plump body and very nice dress and said, “Do I look like I’m in need of a meal? We live in Central Park in a beautiful apartment.” The pastor took another step and was now within three feet of her. He asked, “Then why do you want to jump and kill yourself?” Her surprising reply was, “I don’t remember.”

This pastor had helped turn her focus off her problems and on to reasons to be thankful. They continued to talk while she showed him pictures of her eight grandchildren with lengthy descriptions of each family member! A year later she was a volunteer on a suicide prevention hotline, helping people to choose life and choose the thankful life. She had learned the secret that thankful people are happy people.

1. What reason does Psalm 136:26 give us to be thankful?

2. Start your day with a few minutes of giving thanks to God. Try writing down the things you are thankful for and share them with your friends and family.

Psalm 100:4; Psalm 107:1

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

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