This is the week that many people across the nation take a whole day to be thankful - and that is no little thing. Gratitude is powerful, and something that we too often forget to hold onto.
We have had the privilege to do quite a bit of travelling over the years. I have noticed that I am quite an American snob about two things - Diet Coke with just the right amount of ice, and nice, hot showers. Apparently, no one else in the world knows how to do these two things quite to my liking because I seem to complain (in my mind, at least) about the lack of these ammenities wherever I go. However, one time we went on a trip to the Middle East to visit some friends who live and work there. We went into the desert for a few days to go camping. I mean, way into the desert. We saw some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine - it was like another world altogether. And the stars at night…sorry, Texas, but this place has us beat. It was glorious and truly epic.
But after just a few hours into the camping trip, I noticed that there are no restrooms way out in the desert. There are no sinks, no toilets, no showers, no convenience stores - there really is absolutely nothing. And I realized that the desert is made entirely of sand, which gets everywhere and into everything. By the end of three days, I was more filthy than I ever thought I could be, and so thirsty. We stayed at a little motel on the way back into the city. Four days earlier, I would have thought this was a sorry little motel with a sad excuse for a bathroom, but my perspective had totally shifted after three nights in the desert. That little trickle of almost lukewarm water was the best shower I had ever taken in my life! I was so grateful to be able to get cleaned up, and the warm bottled water was the best, most refreshing drink I had ever had. There was no snobiness or entitlement in my heart that evening - I was so grateful for such simple things.
There is an account in the Bible that is so important to consider -
Luke 17: 11-17
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
We read this and think, “How rude - those other nine people just took the healing and ran on without even looking back!”
But this is me every single time I take the blessings of God and run on ahead without a word of thanks to Him. It is me everytime I complain about something not being good enough, when I am surrounded by amazing and undeserved blessings on every side. This is all of us when we live in a place where we forget to be thankful to our Father in Heaven who gave us life and breath, and who gave us everyone and everything we hold dear.
When we are grateful, our anxieties are quieted and our frustrations are stilled. When we choose to live in a place of thankfulness, we cease to worry about tomorrow as we remember the way God never leaves us or forsakes us. When we are grateful, we lay down our faults with others as we remember how gracious God has been to us.
May our hearts and spirits rest in the goodness and faithfulness of God this Thanksgiving Day. I pray that the presence of God is so real and near to you and those you love this week - Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)