One Year Later
This past Sunday our church marked it's one year anniversary in our new location. And while we didn’t have a big celebration, the significance of the date has left me thinking a lot about all that's happened in this past year. As I’ve remembered all that God has done, I’ve noticed that my overall sense of thankfulness has increased. It’s not that I wasn't thankful before, it's just that focusing specifically on what God's been doing has brought my thankfulness to the forefront of my thoughts. So I’ve found myself going through this week saying "thank you" to God more often than I had been.
This idea of thanking God for His provisions isn't something that I just discovered - it’s actually a concept God set up when He first set people loose on the world. Genesis 4:3 tells us, “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift, the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock.”
With that very simple statement, God begins to lay out a theme that runs throughout the Bible: we need to take time to give thanks for what He has done, and is doing in our lives. In other words, we need to have thankful hearts. Psalm 50:14 expands on this point when it tells us to, “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God.” God doesn’t call us to be thankful every now and then, He calls us to be thankful all the time. And that happens when we develop a habit of thanking God each and every day, because when we do, it keeps our focus on God, and on all that He’s doing for us.
So how do we do this? How do we develop a “habit of thanksgiving”? Well, I think we begin by acknowledging that everything we have comes from God. That means there’s no such thing as “luck”, or “coincidence”, or just “being in the right place at the right time”. At the same time, there’s no “Look at the promotion I just earned!”, or "Look at all I've accomplished!”. Instead, there is only, “God, YOU are so amazing – look what YOU have done for me – thank you!”
Then, with that mindset firmly in place, we tell people what God's doing. Psalm 95:1-3 describes it like this, “Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. For the Lord is a great God, and He has done great things.” In order to build a habit of giving thanks, we need to tell people what God’s doing. We need to proclaim His goodness and faithfulness. So instead of focusing on what we don’t have, or on what we wish God was doing for us, we need to focus on what He IS doing, and then tell others about it.
So today, let's practice our thanksgiving habits. Let’s acknowledge that all we have comes from God - and then let's tell everyone one we meet what God is doing for us. And in this way, we'll build thankful hearts, and proclaim His goodness to the world.