It is November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, along with the challenge to be thankful! But seriously, do we have to be thankful all month?
Do we have to play along with everyone else and update our social media accounts with daily thankfulness? What if we run out of things we’re thankful for before the end of the month? Can’t we just skip November’s “Thanks” and move full speed into December’s “Gimme”?
Fortunately not everyone thinks this way; there are people who are genuinely thankful all the time. Are you one?
It’s not so hard to be thankful when we have everything we want. It’s a bit more difficult when we want more things, or things other than what God has given us.
In poverty or in wealth, God supplies all our needs, but it’s often our wants that keep us from living in gratitude. Unfortunately when our eyes are on what we think is missing, instead of what God has given, gratitude flies out the door; and gratitude is one of the keys to contentment.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” – Philippians 4:11-12 NLT
God gives us much that we take for granted: life, health, friends, family, freedom, a world to live in, air to breathe, food to eat and plenty to share. And as far as material things, well, if you have a roof over your head, food in your fridge, and a couple of bucks in the bank, you have way more than many people on earth do.
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return.” – Luke 12:48 NLT
“…and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 NLT
Could it be that the pathway to contentment and gratitude (rather than discontentment because of our circumstances) is to walk humbly with God?
What does it mean to walk humbly with God? Walking is simply the daily routine of life; putting one foot in front of another. Walking humbly is recognizing that everything we have is a gift from God – not just our material things, but everything in every realm of our lives. Walking humbly is also recognizing that God has wisely decided to withhold from us the things we don’t have at this time. Walking humbly means setting aside the pride that makes us think we know what is best for us, and instead trusting that God always gives what is best.
How grateful are you for what you have, and for what you don’t have? When you pray, do you begin with thanksgiving and gratitude, or do you jump right into “Wants” and “Gimme’s”? If you had to list one thing each day that you are thankful for, could you make it to the end of the month? Will you try?
You have been given much, even if it is not everything you want. How would your attitude change if you decided to live in contentment? How could the testimony of your contentment bring glory to God? How might your life of contentment make God famous?
A sweet woman wrote about contentment many years before she went to be with her Lord. Her words continue to make God famous.
“God has given me 81 healthy years.
Why me God?
God gave me a wonderful husband of almost 55 years.
Why me God?
Then he gave me 5 wonderful children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Why me God?
He also tells me to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the poor in spirit and love thy neighbor.
Why me God?
He gave me body, mind, and soul, and freedom of choice to use His gifts as a message for Him.
Now I know why.
For whom much is given, much is required.”
Evelyn Coulter – 1921-2014
You have been given much. Will you choose to live in gratitude and contentment?