November 19, 2012

A Thanksgiving Tree

As I’ve walked through the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, I’ve found it easy to make my list of the things for which I am thankful – my husband, children, family, health, employment etc … But what about those things that I don’t like in my life? Those circumstances or people that bring about discontentment, disappointment or discouragement in my heart and attitude. How easy is it to be thankful for those?
In Philippians 4, Paul speaks to this very thing when he exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord always and to pray with thanksgiving in everything. Paul also speaks of learning to be content whatever the circumstance. The word in the original Greek for learning in this verse is manthano, which means to learn by practicing.
Reflecting on these verses, I began a new list or rather “a tree”.   Let me explain the tree. I recently ran across a blog post on creating a tree at Thanksgiving as a way to record and express thanks. (You can read about how to create this tree and download a template here!) 
So I created my tree. 
At first glance my tree doesn’t look like much. It’s almost colorless, dead, and bare of foliage or fruit. And often, that is how life can seem. But just as the colorful tags and ribbon transform the look of my tree, a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord changes my heart and attitude. Considering Paul’s instructions I am to rejoice always, pray with thanksgiving and practice this over and over. What if every time I am tempted to be discontent, dissatisfied or discouraged, I turned that into a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord? How would this change my attitude and my demeanor? I decided to use my tree for this purpose. When something comes to mind that causes discontentment, discouragement or disappointment, I turn it into an opportunity to offer thanks. It changes my attitude and gives me new perspective and I experience the peace and joy that only God can provide.
Psalm 69:30 says we magnify God with our thanksgiving.
Psalm 50:23 says the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies God.
My sacrifice of thanksgiving not only changes my heart and attitude, but it brings glory to the Father!
What about you, are you discontent, disappointed or discouraged about something in your life right now? Why not turn it into a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord?
Rejoicing in Him!
Susan Cady
Women’s Ministry Bible study Team