An Attitude of Gratitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The story is told of a little boy who complained quite a bit about just everything.  He found fault with many things at home and was hardly ever satisfied. One day his mom bought him some beautiful red handkerchiefs and embroidered his initials on the edges. 

He frowned and asked why she had not chosen blue ones instead.  He muttered that he would not be using them. She replied that this was fine and that he could use his old ones until he felt the need to have the new ones. Besides, she added, it didn’t make sense to gift someone who was as unappreciative as he. He countered that he didn’t like old things either while he walked away.

She called out to him and sent him to a neighbor to drop off some money. The neighbor had several children, the dad was left with one arm after a bad accident and there were many mouths to feed. The money was a gift to help the mom with her Thanksgiving preparation. The little boy complained that he did not like to go to the neighbor because the house was very small, there were lots of children and he couldn’t understand how they all lived in this small house.

His mom firmly but gently demanded that he go at once and he obeyed.  When he got to the house, he knocked on the door (“No doorbell!” he thought mockingly).  He could hear voices in the distance, but no one came to the door.  So, he went to the side of the house and as he peered in, he saw all the children busy but having fun and laughing.  He could not make out what they were saying as they happily did their chores.  Their mom was making pies to sell, and they were all helping with some part of the work. 

He wondered why they were so happy when they barely had anything.  He thought that his own room at home was small but this house was not much bigger than his room, to house all these people. Yet everyone seemed to be joyful. Why? He wondered.  He knocked on the kitchen door harder than he had done on the front door. One of the children saw him and alerted their mom who went to greet him.  She was happy for the gift from his mom and shared the good news with the children. They all exclaimed gleefully, how beautiful a mom the little boy had and how grateful they were for the gift. They invited the little boy to join them, and he joined them in helping to make the pies. After an hour it was time to return home. After he had acknowledged their thanks, he left for home.

When he got back home, he wrote a letter to his mom, thanking her for the embroidered kerchiefs, for the fact that she was a good mom, for the food they had, and for the wonderful home that they were blessed to have.  He was also thankful for the old kerchiefs.  He asked his mom to let him have one of the new ones, that he was grateful for the red kerchiefs and for all that she did for him.  

We are sometimes like this little boy who had not realized how much he had until he encountered others who had far less than him yet who were oh so joyful in spite of not having much. 

The verses of the old song which says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done,” is very fitting and applicable, especially at this season of giving thanks.  I am sure that we are grateful for family, friends, and church family. But every day above ground is a day to express thanks. For breathing, for recovery from illness, for not falling ill, for overcoming challenges, for learning how to solve problems, for favor both from God and man, for fun and laughter, for healthy children, for loved ones with special needs, for successful family members, for income, for… all the benefits that we enjoy and the challenging times as well. Most of all for the watchful eye of Almighty God who never slumbers nor sleeps, for His vision and provision, for His sacrifice and salvation, for the gift of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of Heaven at last. Let’s count our blessings, name them one by one.  We have every reason to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.   Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! Thank you Lord! (Ps 107: 1,2).  - Pastor Kerth

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