As we enter the month of November, it seems inevitable that our thoughts turn toward the Thanksgiving holiday. But as much as I could wax rhapsodic about the delights of a succulently spiced smoked turkey or engage in the pumpkin pie versus sweet potato pie debate – I am Team Sweet Potato by the way – perhaps we can go another way.  I remember being in church one Sunday around this time of year, and my pastor spoke not about Thanksgiving, but about Thanks-Living. Basically the idea around the message was to call us to recognize that for those of us who claim the name of Christian, giving thanks is not so much a holiday as it is a way of life. We can see a mandate for this posture of Thanks-Living in any number of places within Scripture. 

For example, Colossians 3:17 tells us, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This tells me that no matter what setting we find ourselves in, glorifying and giving thanks to God are paramount. Perhaps we can consider the awesomeness of 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” I look at it this way: we sometimes wonder about other people and question whether or not they care for us, but with our God there is never a question. God loves us, has always loved, and will always love us. How can we not live in an attitude of constant thankfulness when we have that blessed assurance? 

Adding to this blessed assurance, in Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  A few verses later, Paul explains, “ I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Indeed, Paul knows that contentment has nothing to do with any outward situation, but rather contentment rests on one’s relationship with the Savior. One of my favorite quotes about contentment goes something like this: “True contentment does not come from having all you want, but rather it comes from wanting only what you have.” The world tells us one story of how we should respond to hard situations or times of lack, but thank the Lord that the power of the Holy Spirit tells us a different story of contentment and thanksgiving.

If we practice Thanks-Living we can truly “rejoice always [and] give thanks in all circumstances.” We can forgo anxiety and pray with unending thanksgiving. When we do this, we can be content. We can “praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving” not only this time of year, but always (Psalm 69:30). When we live in relationship with Jesus, we can practice Thanks-Living everyday.

 

This article was written by Tracey Anderson-Tellado. She is a member of the core faculty at SCS and the associate pastor of South Shore Christian Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.