Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. – Colossians 3:16 NLT
I wonder how often other folks forget how much they have to be thankful about? It happens to me sometimes. It happened to me at least once today. Probably more than once.
I’m very conscious and aware that I grumbled and complained today. And how ridiculous is that – knowing how blessed I truly am – that I should grumble and complain, foolishly thinking that I deserve for things to go better, or easier, or smoother, or “more like I had planned”.
Several things happened today, and I fell short of expectations and commitments and responsibilities — repeatedly throughout the day. Time after time, the circumstances of the day, the immediate needs, and the focus of my attention — left me way behind on looking the part of a “well put together, reliable person”.
And I felt foolish because of all of it. Hindsight tells us, “If you had planned better… If you had allowed more time… If you had insisted on this/that…” the self incrimination never ends if we let it run free in our minds. And then we grumble both at ourselves and at our circumstances for no good or profitable reason but to simmer in it like a slow cooked roast sunk up to its top in the bitter herbs and seasonings. What a sad lot it is when we forget just how much we have to be thankful for!!!
What a sad lot it is when we forget that God has a purpose in all of it. So will I forget my blessings, forget my grumblings, call it a day, resign myself to have been defeated today by my shortcomings, and go to bed restless?
Or will I consider, confess, and commit to examining, learning, and being changed — even overwhelmed — by the thankfulness that I should have for so much more than those specific shortcomings?
Will I be thankful and grateful and full of love and hope — or a prisoner to something else?
The verse above says “to God with thankful hearts” — what if we believed that way, lived that way — “to God with thankful hearts“?
It reminds me of that passage in Colossians:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Colossians 3:23 NLT
And what a burdensome command that must be to someone who either doesn’t know or has forgotten how sweet and good the Lord is! I don’t say that with outstretched finger, but with self examining precision in confirming that “He is still working on me”. He is still, by way of the Holy Spirit, of Christ who lives in me, I am being convicted of sin, disciplined in love, and encouraged into obedience and service.
“Thankful people can worship wholeheartedly. Gratitude opens our hearts to God’s peace and enables us to put on love. Discontented people constantly calculate what’s wrong with their lot in life. To increase your thankfulness, take an inventory of all you have (including your relationships, memories, abilities, and family, as well as material possessions). Use the inventory for prayers of gratitude. On Sunday, before worship, quit rushing around; instead, take time to reflect on reasons for thanks. Declare Sunday as your “thanks, faith, and hope” day. Celebrate God’s goodness to you, and ask in prayer for all your needs for the week ahead.” – Life Application Study Bible Devotion
So, we must turn away from one way and turn thi the other…
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:6-8 NLT
Lord, help us to not be like the foolish, rebellious generation of Israelites who turned an 11 day journey into 40 years in the wilderness. Stir up that love that comes from knowing and loving you, from realizing your love for us, from recognizing your grace and mercy towards us — so that we might run and not grow faint and fly like on the wings of eagles. Help us Lord. Amen.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?
Psalms 8:3-4 NLT