No, I am not saying that my life is absolutely perfect. Certainly there are things that can be better and of course things could be much worse. Nonetheless I am reminded of the scriptural charge to give thanks in all things in that giving thanks is the will of God for His people. The fact is that being thankful is not a mere utterance of words for actions done by another rather thanksgiving is an attitude of gratefulness that brings all things into perspective. So during this Thanksgiving season I choose to give thanks in all things concerning me.
As I look back over my life I can find no reason not to be thankful. I was raised in the church so an early introduction to things godly is a thing I can be thankful for. As a young boy I was a Boy Scout and participate in Junior Achievement. There were other things I was involved in that helped groom me into the person I am today. I was instilled with discipline and a determination to be successful so for that I am thankful. I am thankful that my childhood did not lead me to imprisonment or to an early grave. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
And then I grew into a young man and the United States Marine Corps was awaiting my arrival. So I found myself on Parris Island being groomed into a Marine. It was a challenging and excellent time for growth. My thanksgiving is further extended because I was able to accomplish something some said I would not be able to. My thanksgiving is furthered because I was not injured during the rather strenuous work of a Marine recruit. Yes, the work was hard and not for the faint of heart. Still my thanksgiving is not lessened as I look back to a time that only sought to grow me within as well as without. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
No one will say that tour in the Marine Corps is easy. Well, I will say that my tour was a challenge and yet I am thankful for having the experience. Among the experiences I was allowed to travel the western Pacific on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood. I had opportunity to visit a number of countries. Among them were the Philippines. When I first took leave of the ship and took leave beyond Subic Bay I could not help but be thankful. You see I witnessed people living in cardboard houses who thought that a quarter was a lot of money. And I lived on ship with a mattress, two sheets, a blanket and pillow with three meals a day. Certainly tears rolled down my cheeks as I quickly realized that I had much to be thankful for. I had much then and still I have another reason to be thankful.
You see I got out of the Marine Corps unscathed by war. That is reason enough to be thankful. Moreover the Corps served only to bolster the character that was begun in me years earlier. My military experienced also served to grow a patriotism in me that is the mark of those who love these United States. The resolve that was strengthened in me was also a resolve to live a Christian life. This was no easy task in the Marine Corps yet the understanding of obedience was set well within me which has allowed me to be the man God has called me to be. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served my country – a country which allows me to worship the God of all without fear of government reprisal. Yes, it is certain that I have much to be thankful for and still I have another reason to be thankful.
And while on the matter of thanksgiving I could easily spend pages discussing the first Thanksgiving day and what led up to it. This Christian nation found reason to give thanks to God for protection and provision during a difficult time. I fully understand the sentiments of those early pilgrims as I can also write pages of reason I am thankful. I can write volumes on why I am thankful for my four wonderful children and how they are well and growing. These great people are not jailed and are doing well by all accounts. Still I won’t speak much about my thankfulness for them. Nor will I detail my thankfulness to God for my health. No, I have no sicknesses to speak of nor anything detrimental. I am thankful for a sound mind and a determination to continue to serve God. Yet I am not certain that I can encapsulate all my reason to be thankful as to my person yet I can find another reason to give thanks.
Still the thing that absolutely must give thanks for is the fact that God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life. I am most thankful that Jesus was obedient to His Father to the extent that His submission required His life on the cross. I am further thankful that I don’t have to live a life of sin rather I can live a life of holiness which brings about all the more reason to be thankful. This causes more thankfulness in that I can look forward to eternal life with the God of all.
With that I would encourage all to join me in thanksgiving to His Majesty. Join me in bowing down and worshipping with a thankful heart not just during this specific season but rather now and all year long. You see thanksgiving is not a day of the year rather it is a condition of the heart. Join me in thanking the God of our salvation. Join me in growing our hearts of thanksgiving.