Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day six with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for family.
Thankful for Family
“He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”
Acts 10:2 (NIV)
A series on giving thanks would not be complete or right without acknowledging and expressing thanks for my family. While God has indeed blessed me with a great family, I think more importantly He has blessed each of us with the tools to continually grow in relationship with Him and with one another. I suppose if I could define what I wanted my reputation and that of my family to be, I think the above verse describing Cornelius and his family would be it. I am thankful that my wife and I each have parents that brought us up that way and lived out the example seen in Cornelius.
We can only live under a borrowed reputation for a limited amount of time, so I am thankful we found value in the heritage we grew up in and have worked to make it our own. While the foundation of that heritage was by itself a blessing, I believe the greater blessing was in the lessons learned through instruction and observation that have prepared us to respond in godly ways when faced with difficult times. We did not request those difficult times, nor are we requesting additional difficulty, but each one has put a choice in front of us as to how we would respond to the difficulty and to each other. I am thankful that by a combination of God’s grace and our individual commitments to Him, we eventually come out stronger as individuals and as a family.
While I don’t care for trials or errors, I am thankful that through many things, including the old “trial and error” method, we have learned how to not only get along most of the time, but to actually enjoy life together. I am thankful for a daughter who can be both a challenge and an inspiration — but mostly the inspiration part even through the challenges. She teaches me much and blesses so many with her ability to just be herself.
How thankful are you for your family? Why? How thankful do you feel your family is for you? Why? How are the answers to those questions related? How easy is it for you to answer those questions? Why? What would it take for you to be more thankful for them, or them to be more thankful for you? How much of it is dependent on an action that you or they would take and how much is dependent on a choice you would make? Does choosing to be thankful help you find more to be thankful for? What does that say about the times you become dissatisfied or ungrateful? What will you do about it?
I pray that you and I would continually grow in our thankfulness for our family. My experience has shown that the more we choose to be thankful for the people in our life, the more we find to be thankful for.