I remember a friend relating a story many years ago about a relative of his who was, I believe, stopped by a policeman on Thanksgiving day for some kind of traffic violation. After some discussion the policeman asked the man if he had anything to be thankful for. The man said he did. The policeman responded that the man had better be thankful that he wasn't going to give him a traffic ticket. Being stopped by a policeman is not something that would ordinarily conjure up feelings of thanksgiving in your heart. But if you were guilty of some traffic violation, you surely would be thankful if the policeman let you go with just a warning.
We often get down in the mouth over something that we perceive to be a big negative in our life. It could be most anything. To someone else it might not seem like that big of a deal, but to us it's huge. We can let it get us down and keep us down for days or even weeks. It can taint our outlook on everything else; everything becomes negative. Nothing much looks very good.
A few days ago we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. I like that holiday. Without any strange twist it simply encourages us to reflect upon those things for which we can be thankful. Now, just in case you're groping around in some dark pit of despair, let me remind you of some things for which you can be thankful right now. It might help you see things in a different light.
If you have two feet and two legs and you're not crippled, you can be thankful that you can walk. Just think what someone who is paralyzed, or who has no legs, would give to be able to walk as you can. Even if you have trouble walking much at a time, walking as well as you can would be a blessing beyond words for them. It is also a blessing for you, one you may take for granted.
If you can see, how blessed you are! Brother Glynn Langston is a gospel preacher who has been blind virtually from birth. He literally travels the world spreading the gospel, particularly to the blind. Imagine how thrilled he would be if he could see the beauties of God's natural creation. You might wear thick glasses, might not see well enough to drive at night, might even have to use a magnifying glass sometimes to read clearly. But, you can see! What a blessing!
After services today, will you have something to eat? You have food to eat, or the money to buy some. What a blessing that would be to thousands who are right now suffering through starvation. Will you go home this afternoon? You have a home to live in, howerver humble it might be. Think how refugees throughout much of the world must long for their homes Think of all the others in this world who, through no fault of their own, are homeless right now.
We could think of a hundred other things we take for granted that are blessings from God. We have so much for which to be thankful. More than anything we should be thankful that God loves us enough to have sent His Son to the cross to pay the price for the guilt of our sins, to give us the opportunity to be saved (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). No other blessing can compare with our salvation. The only way to properly express your thanks for this blessing is to put your Lord on in baptism for the remission of your sins (Gal. 3:27) and live the rest of your life for Him (Rev. 2:10). This blessing is greater than all other blessings. Have you accepted it? Are you thankful for it? Salvation is a blessing that can help you see yourself as being blessed, no matter what else life might hold. Be a faithful Christian, and you will always have much for which to be thankful.
Gary L. Hutchens