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.
Day thirty-one in the devotional is the outline of a Thanksgiving sermon I shared in 2019 titled, “How To Give THANKS”. I’ll finish out this series of posts with a week focused on the points from that sermon. Here is point five with a reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should lead us to a greater practice of kindness.
How To Give THANKS:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.“
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
This version of “How To Give THANKS” is based around a “made-for-the-movies” stereotypical family thanksgiving day. Here is one of the six things I think we can learn about giving thanks from a traditional Thanksgiving Day gathering:
We give thanks to God, and to others, when we give:
- Kindness: Ephesians 4:31-32 — What family gathering is complete without that cousin that’s . . . well, he’s just different. Regardless of his different looks, different political views, different lifestyle, different pie preference, or different whatever, he is part of the family so we give Kindness. Extending kindness doesn’t mean that we agree or approve of everything about him — we may pray and work desperately to influence positive change in his life. It does mean, however, that we acknowledge his value as a person and do our best to include him in the family celebration of the Thanksgiving Day gathering. We all sin and find our self in need of God’s greatest kindness — the undeserved gift of forgiveness and salvation through the blood of His Son, Jesus! It is this example that we must follow when we give thanks with kindness.
As we prepare to wrap up a month pursuing a “Heart of Thanksgiving”, I pray that each of us would continually be reminded of all that we are thankful for. As you pray, ask God to help you live a life of thanksgiving every day. Pray that your representation of Jesus would show a thankful heart to the people around you. And thank you for your love, prayers, and encouragement.