Recently we celebrated Mother’s Day and acknowledged how thankful we are for our mums – for their love and care and for all they have done for us. I clearly remember the Mother’s Day mornings when my children were small; the gift of drawings that were so abstract it was hard to discern anything recognisable, and the toast for breakfast that had holes and lashings of vegemite. Even though these gifts of thanks didn’t seem like much, these expressions of gratitude created heartfelt filled memories of the precious relationship with my children that will stay with me. I am so thankful for these loving and positive memories of their childhood, I will cherish them forever.
There is so much to be thankful for every day. However, sometimes the demands of life take over our thinking and in the midst of busyness we omit to give thanks to others and especially to God for all that He has done, and continues to do in our lives. Our days can be hectic and tiring and life can be full of challenges. We can be tempted to think negatively about what is happening and spiral into the habit of thinking that life is always hard. God can seem far away as we struggle to push through. It can be difficult to break out of that mindset and cultivate a positive and joyful attitude to our day.
Being thankful is one way that can help change our mindset and develop a new way of thinking. In the Bible we read that Paul the Apostle was thankful even in the midst of great difficulty. When he had been imprisoned in Rome he wrote, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5: 19-20). For Paul the daily practice of being thankful changed his life. Paul even began his first letter to the Corinthians by saying, “I always thank God for you.” In Acts when a group of believers came out to greet him we read that, “at the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.”
With a thankful heart we realise that no matter what our challenge is, God is with us and is in control. We know that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just act to change our situations and help us through, He transforms our hearts from the power that the challenges and struggles have over us. We’re fortified by the peace of His presence in our hearts, and the joy of knowing Him. Our spirits are renewed. Knowing God and focussing on all His good gifts restores the joy in our salvation as we keep our eyes fixed on Him and all the blessings He has given us.
Just as Paul the Apostle took time to thank God the Father, we are encouraged to also thank God for everything He has done for us and to be thankful for the people around us who have touched our life.