With Thanksgiving behind us it is time to get on to thanks living. The Pilgrims had seven times more graves than huts. No people have ever lived on this continent who were more improvised than they, yet they paused to give thanks. With our bounty it was proper to have a holiday set aside for us called Thanksgiving. Now let us learn to perpetuate it into daily thanks living.

The Welsh-born orator and poet, George Herbert wrote: “Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more, — a grateful heart....” A worthy prayer for all.

We are often blind to the bounty with which we live. If only we could learn to distill the events of life, we would see in almost everything there is much for which to be thankful. A classic example is the theologian of yesteryear, Matthew Henry. He was robbed of his wallet. What is there in that for which to be thankful? Summarily he wrote of the robber: “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” That is thanks living at its optimum.

There is an Estonian Proverb which states: “Who does not thank for little things will not thank for much.”

Some, though all too few, give “thanks” before a meal. That is appropriate, but why not let bubble to the surface of your thoughts an attitude of gratitude so consistently it becomes instinctive, a way of life?

A person with a grateful heart, one who daily engages in thanks living, is often one that has been tested. I know this from experience. During my five-week hospital stay I was given up as dying three times. A lot of uncertainty, discomfort and pain was experienced during that time. I like to think I was reared to have a lifestyle disposition of thanks living, but I can assure you that now I am even more thankful for blessings small and large.

Thankfulness is a very powerful energy in a person and adds an immeasurable quality to one’s life. Living apart from thanks living narrows one’s outlook and robs life of much joy and energy. Numerous medical studies show there is an inner healing in expressing a grateful heart, one inclined toward thanks living.

Thanks living opens life to the spiritual component, an awareness of the God factor in everyday experiences. Without it, one is likely to be consumed by the many negatives and adversities in life. Apart from an attitude of thanks living, one can easily be overwhelmed by life’s tsunami of faults, failures and frailties.

Let your mind marinate in this, one of my favorite texts:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” — James 1:2-6

The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.

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