I admit, as Thanksgiving approached this year I didn't give much hard consideration to all that I'm thankful for. And really, the majority of my prayers are small utterances of appreciation, thanks to the Giver of all good and perfect gifts for friends, circumstances, parents that love me and my sister that has taught my niece all about me so that she knows me despite having barely met me.
But now, most of a week after thanksgiving, some articles that have come across my screen have got me thinking about the nature of thanks. One was posted on Boundless and really wasn't about gratitude at all, but how our perceptions of what we deserve affect our values and actions. Thinking about entitlement, though led me to the source of thankfulness. You see, we aren't thankful for things we deserve. Who would we be thankful to? Ourselves? No, we are thankful for what is given to us. If I didn't understand that God is the source of my life and livelihood, there would be no reason to be thankful for a car that I bought with money I earned.
I am thankful for life because it's not something I can give myself and it's not something I deserve. What did you do to deserve to be conceived? If you have an answer to that, I really would like to sit and listen to you for a few hours. What about where you were born? Did you choose to be born in America, or Canada, or the UK? Regardless of and of our work or discipline, we ultimately have to be thankful to God for all that we have on this earth.
Now, what about our value as children of God? If Christ followers are children of a King, don't we deserve luxury? Remember, Paul told us that it is not our home (Philippians 3:20). What right do we have in a foreign land? And Jesus said that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33) and that those who persevere will be saved. What is there to persevere if all comes easy?
So in this world we are not to expect an easy life or riches. Our reward is in heaven and all we have here is cause for thanks, not of our merit or from inherent value because our value is in Christ. Perhaps those commercials that tell us exactly what we deserve are wrong. Perhaps we don't deserve better. We don't deserve the good life. We don't deserve to be happy. It's not that we don't have worth. We have eternal worth, but it doesn't mean we deserve whatever we want in this world. So be happy because you are valuable, and you are loved, and you have been given much. And because you have much, you have much to be thankful for.