A Hard Look at Thankfulness

In the past at this time of year, I do a Thankfulness Challenge of some sort. #30daysofthankful
A blessing a day. I even took a Psalm a few years ago and everyday listed an attribute of God that I was thankful for. I felt like I was taking part in a Thanksgiving Revolution. And maybe I was, I don’t know.

But I came across this meme about a year ago and it challenged me:

Funny, yes! True… yes. I knew I was guilty of complaining on FB or venting and then feeling warm and fuzzy and holy listing my gratitudes for the month of November. There is nothing wrong with doing that, of course, but let’s be thoughtful.

I think that many of us just follow each trend that shows up on social media because it is fun and different and makes us look good. We don’t really put much thought into what we are doing other than to join in the fad.

The question that I am raising is this: are we just showing our gratitude on one day or one month only? Shouldn’t it be everyday of every week of every month of every year?

Here’s an idea: How about simply living gratitude? In everything give thanks…. not just the month of Thanksgiving. That’s why I still love Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. She focused on God’s gifts and it changed her life. Her life became living out gratefulness. That gratefulness turned into charity toward others. And the focus no longer was on simply her blessings, but God’s dealing in her life in all things.

One last thought on thankfulness: Let’s be careful when being thankful about “I”. It is very easy to turn a testimony into a bragging session. “I’m thankful that I don’t do __________.” Or even “I’m thankful that God spared me from being __________.” It’s okay to be thankful for God’s protection, but it can be construed by others as a prayer of the Pharisees. Listen to this:

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:11-14

What it all really comes down to is this: is our thankfulness a list of our accomplishments, qualities or situation? Is it just an inventory of the good stuff? Does it make us look really great and holy? Is it all about us?

Thankfulness is an outpouring of reality; Of the fact that we really deserve nothing, but God gives us all things. When that is truly our attitude, we don’t need to worry about a snarky meme. We really aren’t worried about how we look at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top