It has been said, “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.” What a thought to consider! How easily we take for granted that which has become commonplace in our lives. Even more tragic, however, is when we take His promises, His provisions, and His mercies for granted! Oh, may He open our eyes to see His abundant grace all around us, thus causing our hearts to overflow with gratitude!
Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it.” Let us count our blessings and not our problems or disappointments. What is our biggest blessing? Christ! As we fix our eyes on Jesus and the cross, we will always find that we have something to be grateful for!
One year when my son saw a flyer that read, “Black Friday Sale,” he asked, “Black Friday – isn’t that the day that Jesus died?” I explained, “No, that is called GOOD Friday.” He shrugged and said, “Well, it should be called BLACK Friday.” A few days later he brought it up again and he said it should be called Black Friday because that is the day Jesus DIED. My daughter quickly interjected, “But it’s called GOOD Friday because He died for OUR SINS.”
As we hear about Black Friday deals and discounts, let it remind us of what Jesus did for us that fateful day, when darkness indeed did cover all the land, and He took the penalty and punishment of OUR sins upon Himself. There is no better “deal” than the offer of salvation: For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). Even in our most difficult days, we still have much to be thankful for when we look at the cross. Let us dare not “take it for granted.”
“In everything (in all circumstances) give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thankfulness is always possible by the grace of God and the working of His Spirit. We must acknowledge that it is a command, which does not depend upon our emotions or estimation of a thing. As we busily prepare our homes and menus for the holiday of Thanksgiving, let us not forget to prepare our hearts for the act of thanks-giving. May we ask Him to open our eyes and show us the things that we take for granted on a daily basis, so that instead, we might give Him thanks. When our heart is hurting due to disappointments or unmet expectations, may we not allow the “not given” to spoil what has been given – namely, our salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ because of what He willingly did for you and me on the original “Black Friday.”
A 17th century preacher noted, “If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with the sense of your own vileness. A broken heart is the best pipe to sound forth God’s praise. ‘I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man—but I was shown mercy! (1 Timothy 1:13).’ How thankful Paul was! How he trumpeted forth free grace! A proud man will never be thankful. He looks on all his mercies as either of his own procuring or deserving. Pride stops the current of gratitude. O Christian, think of your unworthiness; see yourself as the least of saints, and the chief of sinners— and then you will be thankful.”
It’s been said, “In every circumstance, we can affirm God’s goodness and discover reasons to give thanks to Him. After all, our gratitude is to Him and for Him. We don’t need more to be thankful for, we need to be more thankful.”