Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful For Undeserved Blessings

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving has rolled around again. Next week, millions of people will focus on being thankful for their blessings, because of the designated day that prompts us all to exhibit gratitude.

But is one day really enough? Did God orchestrate a day of Thanksgiving through the picnic of the Pilgrims long ago, so that we would remember to be thankful for at least one day?

I think not. Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate God's goodness, but it should not be the only day we intentionally do so.

True gratitude is a lifestyle, not a holiday.

Recently as I was making out my grocery list and preparing for our family gatherings next week, I felt God nudge my spirit, and had this overwhelming desire to stop what I was doing, and simply say thank you.

I laid down my pen, and took a moment to chat with God, thanking Him for all the people and blessings in my life that were far too many to count. Yet, as I made my mental gratitude list, a question began to plague my thoughts.

Why has God blessed me so? What have I done to deserve His goodness? What did I ever do to warrant any mercy or grace from God? Not that I don't have problems in my life or issues to resolve, but overall, I am truly blessed...... why?

As I pondered these questions, I was reminded of how undeserving I really am. My thoughts began to wander to all the not-so-pretty parts of 'me' and my life overall.

I am not always a patient mom. I am not always a loving wife. I am not always the best daughter, sister, friend, or neighbor. I have sins in my past, and my present, as I fail daily in big and little ways, falling so short of the glory of God. Sometimes bitterness, resentment, discontentment, and jealousy reside in my heart. I do not always make God a priority as I run through my busy days.

I became acutely aware that I definitely deserved nothing from God. And that thought compelled me to pour out love and gratitude for my Lord even more.

This moment with God was prompted by something I had done a few weeks earlier. I had entered "Thanksgiving" as a recurring daily appointment into the calendar on my cell phone, so that each day, the calendar reminder would pop up on my screen as a  visual reminder.

I didn't need a reminder about when Thanksgiving was going to occur, but about what Thanksgiving was to be about. 

You see, in that recurring calendar reminder, I had not only typed in the word "Thanksgiving", but also included the verse Hebrews 12:28a.

Hebrews 12:28 says this from The Message Bible, "Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God."

The New Living Translation says it this way: "Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe."

Sometimes in the busyness of life, I lose sight of what I am supposed to be seeing. I forget what I have and what God has really given me, when I become distracted by problems, worry or negative feelings.

I tend to focus on being thankful for the tangible blessings I enjoy, but inadvertently forget to be thankful for all the intangible blessings that God has offered, like peace, hope, grace, mercy, forgiveness and eternal life.

All of which are much undeserved.

We have a kingdom and a God that cannot be shaken, no matter how much our life seems to be shaken up. We have a God whose blessings pour out every day, even when we fall short of His glory in more than ways than one.

If you ask me, those are certainly reasons to be thankful all year long.

Recently I read a blog post about a man who keeps a small rock in his pocket every where he goes. Each time he puts his hands in his pocket and feels the rock, he is reminded to thank God for at least one thing.

What do you do, or what can you begin  doing, to help you remember to be thankful for undeserved blessings?

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1 comment:

Brenda Welc said...

So true and surely what is on God's heart I am sure. Lately I have been so thankful even for the little things around me I soon forget to ask for what I need! God surely desires to bless each of us richly, but if thanksgiving does not come from us, then why should He continue to Bless! Good word! Be blessed!