Developing a Thankful Heart by Greg Cummings

In Home Depot this week I found myself surrounded by mounds of merchandise in the main aisles wrapped in black plastic. Stack and stacks of unidentifiable Black Friday Sale products waited to be unveiled the day after Thanksgiving.

In days gone by, we could take some time to linger with Thanksgiving thoughts before jumping into the Christmas rush. Today, Black Friday urges us to move into rabid consumer mode by midnight on Thanksgiving or risk missing the deal of the year on our most desired purchase.

We were discussing Thanksgiving Day memories in our Community Group last Sunday. No one mentioned fond memories of amazing Black Friday sales.

Larry and Paula Harms were visiting with our group and pointed out that Australia, where they lived for four years, does not have a Thanksgiving Holiday tradition. I hope the time will never come when our Thanksgiving Day will be better known as “Black Friday Eve.”

I urge everyone to pick up a notepad for Thanksgiving as Jimmy mentioned in his sermon last Sunday. Make it your goal to write down 5-10 specific things you are thankful for every day until you have listed 1000 things.

Focusing on what we have helps us pay less attention to what we don’t have. Persistently noting ways we are blessed over a period of time can prompt us to become more aware of more gifts as we encounter them.

I started my list a while ago. Maybe seeing another person’s ideas will help you in forming yours. Here are a few of the many things for which I found myself being grateful: reliable cars, Debbie’s constant loving acts, my smart phone’s s-pen and calendar, a church family I enjoy and overhearing Rene Bailey celebrating alone in her office over how well the Children’s Ministry had gone one recent Sunday.

Some wise person said we have things backwards. Instead of dedicating one day a year to giving thanks, we should have one day a year for complaining – and limit our grumbles to that one day!

Well, that will never happen but we can do something biblical. The Bible urges, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thess. 5:16-17).

Note the words “always,” “continually” and “in all circumstances.” Thanksgiving blesses best when practiced regularly. Strive for the thanksgiving spirit all year long. [Editor’s note: Now retired, Greg Cummings assists with the work of the Kerrville church of Christ. This article comes from his archive.]


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