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Thankful – to be or not to be

ROCKWALL, TX (Nov. 26, 2014) The American holiday we call Thanksgiving is filled with concepts that seem, for many, to originate from a land long ago and far, far away. The idea of humbling oneself before a higher being and expressing gratitude is rapidly becoming an extinct dinosaur, laid on the ash heap along with politeness, kindness and concern for others before oneself.

The concept of being truly thankful seems to have lost its appeal these days. We are a society that sees itself as self-made and self-sufficient. We are a society that desires the power in us to be the all-encompassing provider and sustainer.

I know, I seem harsh and “judgmental,” as the clarion call is today. But look around a few minutes and tell me what you see. For instance, take the music of today. You will get the message that life is all about self-fulfillment. Watch the way people drive; no courtesy here, just trying to be the first one there. Listen to and watch the athletes, rock stars, movie and sitcom stars. Where is the thankful attitude for being one of few that have made it to the top in their respective fields? Where are the statesmen and stateswomen politicians that see their role as servants of the people instead of protectors of their power regime?

If they are all correct in their self-aggrandizement, who are we to be thankful to this Thanksgiving…ourselves? Are we thankful to ourselves for being so good to ourselves and providing for ourselves and caring for ourselves? Are we thankful to ourselves for protecting our children and providing good friends and close relationships? Are we thankful to ourselves for the ability to see the grand mountain ranges, starry night sky and flowers and birds? Are we thankful to ourselves for the ability to hear the birds sing, listen to friends speak, hear babies cry and enjoy encouraging music? Are we thankful to ourselves that we do not need to be fearful of tomorrow, because we will provide, protect ourselves and enjoy the fruit of our own hands?

And just how do you pass this kind of thankfulness down to the next generation? Do you tell them how great you are in all your wonderful and perfect works of provision and constant, never failing love for them? (O, wait. They have seen your life and know that you aren’t perfect.) Well, maybe you could tell them that they can always depend on you and that your faithfulness extends to all of them and all of their offspring. (Hmmm…that would come up short too.)

Ok, sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek set aside, but I truly desire that we all get the point. And that is that no, we are not perfect. We are not self-sufficient. We certainly do depend on God Almighty to provide for us daily. Every breath, every heartbeat is there every hour of every day because He sustains life and provides for every creature on the planet. He is much bigger than we can ever imagine. And for all His provision, we should be grateful.

Life is not easy and life can be unfair, and the Christian knows that this life is only temporary and better things await those who are God’s children. But believing in the Christian God or not, you must still observe the Creation and realize there is someone there that has it all together, is much more powerful than you and that you should express thankfulness to for sustaining life as He does.

So, look around again now and tell me what you see. Forget the sad attitudes and small lives that attempt the impossible of making sense of life in and of themselves alone. Forget the power hungry and the “hurray for me” crowd and realize what your life is made of and who has made you. Think about all the great blessings that you have enjoyed this past year; blessings that were outside of yourself and that you know you should be thankful for. The old hymn says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one…” This would be a great exercise for all of us. Count your blessings and give God the credit for being so good to you. 

By Blue Ribbon News special contributor John Adams of Rockwall. John serves as an Associate Pastor at Poetry Baptist Church. He is active in the Rockwall Breakfast Rotary. Visit his guest columns at BlueRibbonNews.com and his blog at written4u.com.

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