Cultivating thankfulness or shedding the uns
By Pastor Doug Cox
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for the same reason it is for most everyone else. The food! Juicy turkey, cranberry sauce, salads of all kinds and those fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy. And don’t forget the fluffy biscuits and pies, pumpkin, chocolate cream, banana cream and pecan. All that deliciousness doesn’t just magically appear. It all has to go through the process of cultivation. Once hatched, the turkeys have to be fed and raised. The vegetables have to be planted, watered, fertilized then harvested. Everything at the table has required care and work especially from the family’s culinary experts. Certainly, there is much to be thankful for.
Thankfulness itself is something that must be cultivated in our individual lives. If we are not careful our success can cause us to pridefully wander away from God, the Source of all life. Paul stresses the seriousness of acknowledging God to Timothy, an up and coming leader in the church. He tells him to “command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
Wow, the word command is strong language and is not going to set well with some. Not many of us like to be commanded. It is also translated teach in some translations. The meaning behind the word is to “transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, to announce.” So, we have to understand these words are not just coming from an Apostle, but from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God… for instruction in righteousness.” The charge to be humble and trust in the Living God comes from the Holy Spirit and for a very good reason. Thankfulness positions you where God can bless you and make you’re life a blessing. Contrarily, thanklessness puts you in bad company.
Have you noticed how the world is focused on selflove and money? How pride and blasphemy fill prime time TV? How disobedience and lawlessness are metastasizing? How there are two sets of standards? One for the elite powerful politicians and one for the rest of the population? How many people are unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God? Well, the same God who charges us to trust in Him and not ourselves is the same God who predicted all these things would manifest in the last days. It’s all recorded there in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
If you would look in your Bible at these verses, you will see that unthankfulness is the leader of the pack of other unwanted uns. It comes before unholy, unloving, unforgiving and uncontrollable. Almighty God knowing how one bad characteristic leads to another, knew what He was doing when He through Paul said to “charge” the people to avoid pride and trust in Him. God knows what He is doing when He tells us to be thankful. It is for our own good.
Thanksgiving is something we need to cultivate to overcome negativity, nitpickiness and their unwanted cousins. So here are some Bible verses to memorize and practice. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, ‘with thanksgiving,’ let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Happy Thanksgiving and say goodbye to the uns.