People have been doing thankful lists all month, and I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Gratitude is a necessary practice, and one that coincides quite well with the pursuit of joy. While I didn’t agree with every aspect of Ann Voskamp’s theology in One Thousand Gifts, I wholeheartedly embrace the idea of fostering gratitude through the daily recognition of overlooked blessings, and I loved the way she poetically drew my heart to notice the way the light shines through the window and the curl of my children’s eyelashes, and to thank God for even those things.
I think out of fear of worldliness or materialism, it is easy to neglect to be thankful for the very tangible blessings that surround us – good food, fun toys, books and movies, and the like. Yet aren’t all present pleasures God’s good gifts? It’s not that I’m saying we ought to strive after these things, nor that we should prize them above all else (or even above most else). But as we practice gratitude for the blessings of grace and mercy, of friends and family, I think we need a little affirmation that it is perfectly Biblical and worshipful to thank God for Wii games and big trampolines. They too are blessings, and they too can point us to a heavenly Father who delights in watching His children enjoy the gifts He has given them.
It is a healthy fear – to not want good things to become ultimate things, to not want to cling too closely to any gift and thus neglect to desire the Giver. It’s a healthy fear that ought to drive us to rejoice in giving until it hurts, to do good works, and to always be ready to share.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)
It seemed appropriate to consider as we get ready for Thanksgiving. I hope yours is filled with joy!