Do Everything with Thanksgiving!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It's a day set aside for citizens of my country to offer prayers of thanks to God. Of course, it has also become a day for family gatherings, football, and feasting. It can be terribly easy for the "giving thanks to God" part of the day to be minimized or even forgotten.
That's too bad. But, for Christians, the notion that giving thanks belong mainly on one day is mistaken. Take Colossians 3:17, for example: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." This verse says that everything we do and everything we say should be bathed with thanksgiving. Everything!
What does this mean for our celebrations of Thanksgiving Day? It means we should prepare the meal with thanks. We should drive to the home of our relatives or friends with thanks. We should dress up in our warm clothes with thanks. We should greet our family members with thanks, even the peculiar ones whom we're not all that glad to see. We should watch football with thanks, even if our favorite team loses. We should eat turkey and stuffing or our vegetarian casserole with thanks. We should converse around the table with thanks. And so on, and so on.
But, here's the kicker: We're supposed to live like this every single day! Yes, that includes bad days, gloomy days, busy days, discouraging days. Scripture does not ask us to be thankful for evil things. But in everything, and especially in all we do and say, we're to live and speak with gratitude to God.
I'll be honest. I'm not very good at this. I can go through a whole day without even thinking of God one time. I can focus on what bugs me and take for granted the good stuff. I'm not proud of this, mind you. That's why I need a stirring injunction of Colossians 3:17. I need to learn to do everything and say everything with gratitude. Maybe you do too!
Happy Thanksgiving Day! And happy thanksgiving tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the next . . .
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to do and say things with thanksgiving? What gets in the way of your gratitude? How might you learn to do and say everything with thanksgiving?
PRAYER: Gracious God, you have been so amazingly good to me, and I'm sure I don't know the half of it. Yet, I can live such a thankless life, so focused on what I don't have and what I have that I don't like. Forgive me, Lord. Create in me a new, thankful heart.
Help me to live this day, and every day, with genuine gratitude. May I learn to do and say everything with thanks to you. Amen.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.