The Thanksgiving problem

By Al Earley - A Religious Point of View

Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book was one of the few writers who got to enjoy financial success as a writer of his day. A cynical newspaper reporter came up to him and said, “Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over a hundred dollars a word. Mr. Kipling raised his eyebrows with a surprised look. The reporter pulled a one hundred dollar bill from his pocket and gave it to Mr. Kipling and said, “Here’s a hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now, you give me one of your hundred dollar words.” Mr. Kipling looked at that hundred dollar bill for a moment, took it and folded it up, and put it in his pocket and said, “Thanks.”

Are you excited about celebrating Thanksgiving or focused more on Black Friday? One would assume that because our nation provides so much to every citizen, and because we have such big feasts, that we would be an extremely thankful people. But it is often just the opposite, isn’t it? The more we get, the less thankful we become, the less mindful of God we are, and the more we want. I think there is a real danger that people fall into the trap of determining how thankful they are based on of how much they have. “Do I have enough turkey to gorge myself sufficiently? Is my money in the bank secure? Am I healthy?” And we let these things determine whether we are or aren’t thankful. If you are finding any of these struggles to be true for you then I invite you to look to God. God wants you to be thankful about everything. We read in I Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. God promises to provide all your needs, and just to show you how much He loves you he provides most of your wants. God promises to be there when life becomes difficult, and further promises to make you stronger as your go through life’s trials if you will trust Him to do so. God makes it possible for us to be thankful in both the good and hard times.

I want to offer a few simple things you can do to solve the Thanksgiving problem today and everyday of your life. First, intentionally disconnect yourself from technology regularly. Facebook fills us with jealousy as we see what all our “friends” are doing that we don’t get to do. The internet makes us idolatrous as we wish for more and more stuff. Our cell phones distract us from real interactions with God and people. Television fills us with cynicism and skepticism while reinforcing all the struggles listed above. Technology is not evil, in and of itself, but too much of it can make it very difficult to be thankful all the time.

With all your new found time pray more. Make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for starting with faith, family, God’s provision, health, the way you are created, and being born in America. Make a commitment to God to thank Him for all of those blessings everyday. As your list of blessings becomes a part of your very soul because you thank God everyday, then you will trust God more to get you through the hard times of life.

Thanks goes with giving. If you want to be more thankful give more. Give your time, talents and treasures. Find a way to serve others. Share your financial resources with others. Be a cheerful giver. Remember, God is the best giver, and He has created us to be like him, so we are to become givers as well. It will make us more thankful.

The first Thanksgiving was in 1623, three years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth Rock. In the first winter forty-seven people died of the 102 Pilgrims. Just before their next winter 38 new pilgrims arrived with nothing. They miraculously survived that winter with few deaths on as little as five kernels of corn a day. With the help of Squanto and their constant prayers and worship of God their struggling community began to thrive so that by Nov. 29, 1623 Gov. William Bradford declared the first Thanksgiving, a special day to worship God and give Him thanks for all their provision. Out of those humble beginnings grew this great nation, from which we have so much to be thankful for.

How thankful are you? Can you be thankful for the bad as well as the good? Do you have a list of things you thank God for everyday? Does technology play to large a role in your life? How can you disconnect from it more often? How do you give away your time, talent, and treasures to others? Do you see how making some changes can make you more thankful.

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By Al Earley

A Religious Point of View

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