Meanderings of a Minister


Having Trouble Thinking of Things to Be Thankful For?
November 3, 2011, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Articles

I was talking to a friend just the other day and he was talking about how this Thanksgiving was going to be such a different time.  As we talked, he cited the economy, joblessness, political turning of tides, war, attack on our Christian liberties, and much more, as reasons for not having much to be thankful for this year.  Some people that were eavesdropping on our conversation chimed in with talk about global unrest, poverty, disease and the preponderance of unethical governments around the world.  The more they talked, the more I began to be sucked into their mindset.  As I returned to my study, I opened the book of Psalms and read Psalm 73 to get some perspective.  Stop now and read this great Psalm to understand how it affected me in the following ways:

First, if I only look at the apparent success of the wicked, I am tempted to question whether or not God is on the throne (vv. 1-3).  When I have the proper perspective, I realize that, like the rich man of Luke 16, they are having their good times now.  You and I, if we are in Christ, have our greatest rewards still ahead (v. 17)

If I look at the violence and destruction of our world and think that God can’t possibly be paying attention, I may question whether God is all-knowing (vv. 4-6).  When I have the proper perspective, I realize that their own violence is leading them to destruction (v. 18).  They are not getting away with anything.

If I look at the way people revile and mock God (and seem to get away with it), I may question whether or not God is paying attention (vv. 7-11).  In our day, with gay marriage, abortion, destroying embryos in the name of science, and the attempts to silence the gospel in all public places, it might be tempting to think this even more; however, when I have the proper perspective of all that is going on, I realize that God is not slow in keeping His promises (2 Peter 3:9), but is patiently allowing people the chance to repent.  He is not mocked, what we sow, we will reap (Galatians 6:7) (v. 19).

If I begin to wonder why I walk in integrity when all I get is grief from the media, friends, co-workers, I will begin to think that it really doesn’t matter what I do as long as I fit in (vv. 12-13).  When I get the proper perspective, I remember that I really live for an audience of one and it doesn’t matter what other people think.  I can live without the bitterness that the enemy of our souls would like to have take root in my heart and I can trust my situation (and theirs) to God (v. 20).

If I spend my time thinking it not fair that God disciplines me whenever I step the least bit out of line (v. 14) and lets the wicked get away with murder (sometimes literally), I can become embittered (v. 21) and can actually be drawn into thinking like the rest of the world and thinking I am justified in exalting myself and seeking revenge (v. 21).  When I have the proper perspective, I remember that without God’s work in my life, I would be them because it is He Who drew me to Himself (John 6:44) and gave me the faith to believe (Eph. 2:8-9) and it is God who works in me to even want to do His will (Phil 2:13).  I was His enemy (Rom. 5:10) and He has made me His friend (John 15:14).

I may be confused about how it works (v. 15), but I really only need to remember one thing “Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.  But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”  (vv. 25-28)

As you prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving, don’t let the things of this world get you down, but remember to thank God for Who He is, for this never changes.  Thank God for what He has done, for this never changes.  And thank God for who He has saved you to be, for this never changes either.  Hope this helps to prime you for Thanksgiving!

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