|Give thanks to the LORD, invoke His name; make known among the nations His deeds. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! [1CHRON 16:8-10]|
In the day of retribution riches will be useless, but uprightness delivers from death.-Proverbs 11:4
My grandmother had this painting hanging in her kitchen. She wasn't a religious woman (at least, not until she was diagnosed with advanced stage pancreatic cancer), but she always had this picture up, and I loved it. An elderly man, all alone (as sadly, many elderly people are these days), eating a simple, humble meal of soup and bread, yet he still stops to give thanks to God. Thankfulness is on our minds this time of year, but are we truly thankful? Do we mean it, deep in our hearts? Or do we think, "I'm thankful for xyz, BUT..." while longing for more than we need? Of course, the Lord wants us to come to Him with our petitions, but we're also warned against covetousness (something important enough that it covers two of the 10 Commandments). True thankfulness is perhaps something we find difficult when we are blessed to live in a prosperous and affluent country. That's seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? You would think that more "stuff" you have, the happier you would be. You would think that the less you want for in your life, the happier you would be. Yet study after study has shown this is false. Stuff doesn't make us happy. Things don't fill the emptiness in our hearts. Suicide rates skyrocket during the holidays, and why? Loneliness. Pain. Emptiness. In a country of wealth the likes of which most people on this earth can only dream of, people are filled with hopelessness and despair to the point they see no other avenue than death. That is heartbreaking.
How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he has chosen as his heritage. -Psalms 33:12
The Holy Father recently visited Africa. I'm consistently amazed and humbled by the people of Africa. They have so little. They know so much pain. And yet, joy and love absolutely radiates from them. They love God passionately, and they are earnestly thankful to Him for what they do have. I'm sure there are many reasons we could find for this, and I don't mean to oversimplify or stereotype, or to discount the very real troubles they face, but the biggest difference I see between the people of the west and the people of Africa is God and family. God and family don't just come first individually, person to person, but as a whole, as a nation. Leaders are unafraid to openly praise God and thank God. God comes first. Here, even if our families personally put God first, our society sure doesn't. Or nation sure doesn't. The majority of our leaders don't, and even if they do, they're often afraid to speak it openly. What hope is there for a nation that has forsaken God? For the nation and kingdom that will not serve You will perish, and the nations will be utterly destroyed.- Isaiah 60:12
So am I thankful for what God has blessed me with- a lovely home, a beautiful family, a hard-working husband, a comfortable financial situation in comparison to the rest of the world. But most of all I am thankful for the gift of grace He has given me, the blessing that it is to desire Him and love Him. And I earnestly pray that our people and our nation receive this gift of grace, and once again give glory and praise to our Lord!
Happy Thanksgiving, and many blessings to you all!
For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.--Ephesians 2:8