“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” — James 1:17
One of my aunts never married. Having no children of her own, she was incredibly proud of my sister and me. When we would visit her as young girls, she loved to take us to the department store where she worked and introduce us to her friends. As for me, I dreaded those outings. Before we’d walk into the store, my aunt would instruct us on proper etiquette. Whenever she introduced us to her friends, we were to say, “How do you do? It’s nice to meet you.”
As I think of walking the aisles and meeting one person after another, I can still feel the discomfort of my eight or nine-year-old self. Although I’d been taught the good graces of saying please and thank you, this formal greeting was foreign to me. The words felt awkward and insincere as they rolled off my tongue.
In the course of your day, how often do you say “Please” and “Thank you?” Do expressions of gratitude come naturally to you? Do you treat your immediate family members with respect, or do you reserve kind words for those outside your homes?
What about gratitude to God—the Giver of all good and perfect gifts? If placed on a scale, would your requests for “more” outweigh your appreciation for what you already have? Would your “pleases” outweigh your “thank yous?”
In our current culture, thanksgiving often takes a backseat to an entitlement mentality—the false notion that we somehow deserve to be happy, deserve to be blessed. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Good gifts are given by a good and unchanging God who gives without limit or partiality. Gifts are not deserved or earned. If so, they wouldn’t be gifts. They’d be payment.
Everyone loves a well-behaved child, and hopefully, most parents strive to teach their children good manners. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age five. Instilling appreciation in young children helps them become happier adults, and since children learn what they live, they follow our example.
There is an old song that says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Thanksgiving takes practice, and gratitude produces gratitude. The more we thank God for our blessings, the more apparent additional ones become.
God not only gives us temporal blessings, He’s given us the greatest gift of all—eternal salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is more than worthy of our gratitude. Let’s live every day with Thanksgiving in our hearts! May our words of appreciation not be foreign, awkward, or insincere. May they roll over our lips and extol daily the Giver of all good and perfect gifts.
Now it’s your turn: Count your blessings. Name them one by one, then please share one in the comments below.
If placed on a scale, would your requests for “more” outweigh your appreciation for what you already have? Drop by my blog today for Living with Thanksgiving Click To Tweet
*** This article was first published in The Randolph Hub, November 24, 2021