What Are You Thankful For?
A common question around our table each Thanksgiving is: “What are you thankful for?” The quick and typical answer from those anxious to eat is: “For the turkey! Now, let’s eat!”
But that question is not asked lightly. Identifying things for which we’re thankful requires reflection. It’s easy to take our benefits for granted.
Sometimes we fail to recognize our advantages because of adversity. Acknowledging our blessings when consumed with fear and frustration requires intention. We’re prone to identify complaints faster than gratitude.
It doesn’t require much effort to identify things for which I’m NOT thankful. I can quickly name them. More than likely, you can, too! Also, we can promptly recognize things for which we are grateful: family, friends, food, and shelter.
Someone recently asked me: “What are you thankful for, Richard?” I could have conveniently -- and honestly -- mentioned my family and friends (or many things for which I’m thankful).
However, I took time to think. What came to mind was something commonly overlooked. I said: “I’m thankful for the challenges I face.”
Difficulties are not “top-of-my-list” items for which I’m thankful. Paul writes:
“… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” - Romans 5:3–5 (ESV)
There’s a lot of things for which I’m NOT thankful (there always will be). But I choose to be grateful rather than complain because difficult times produce endurance, character, and HOPE!
What are you thankful for?
Are you looking for a place to receive spiritual direction and encouragement in these challenging times? Please consider joining my mailing list. Each Wednesday you’ll receive my latest blog posts with practical content designed to support you in your life and faith.