We talk about being thankful for what we have, and so we should. But it seems the more we stuff possess, the more we drift toward thanking ourselves. When prosperity abounds, people forget God.
When people have no fear, they also do not fear God. When life is comfortable, God is irrelevant to most people. The world focuses on prosperity and peace. When peace is lost, prosperity is meaningless.
Thousands of years ago Moses warned the Israelites of this when he said, "Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God ... Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." (Deuteronomy 8:11-14)
Thankfulness is something we choose.
The more we have, the harder thankfulness tends to be; and the more likely we forget God. Because all our possessions dominate our attention: We have to pay for it. We have to take care of it. We hope nothing goes wrong with it. And we fall in love with it.
Unless we're careful, we'll slip into the common mindset of: "How much is enough? Just a little bit more."
And instead of being thankful, we'll dash off to the shopping malls for more stuff on Black Friday. But that's not enough. We now have "Grey Thursday" and "Cyber Monday."
Thanksgiving is equally an attitude of choice. When we're thankful, we can feel happy because we focus on what we have rather than what we don't. We feel peaceful and satisfied because we realize how much we have -- more than we may have thought. We feel free because we realize we don't really need all the stuff we're tempted with, which in turn helps free us. And for all of that, we can be thankful.
Editor's note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 479-659-9519.Religion on 11/20/2019
Print Headline: Make the choice to be full of thanks