The little girl was very small – perhaps 4 or 5 years old. Her uncle asked if she would like some candy as he held out a brown paper bag filled with goodies. She quickly reached in and grabbed all her tiny fingers could hold. He then looked at her for a moment and said, “Thank you…” expecting some form of gratitude. Instead, she replied, “You’re welcome!” He chuckled as he walked away.
As I think about this little girl, I question whether our responses are any different as adults. I see that God’s goodie bag is a lot more enticing – not just sweet confections but scrumptious meat – the finest filet, wagyu and kobe – only the best! As the contents are offered to me, do I respond with gratitude, or do I just consume without acknowledging the blessing? Do I take His abundance for granted as she did?
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” Every spiritual blessing…
I stop, I pause, I reflect… In my 20/20 hindsight I begin to recall times when a goody bag filled to overflowing was handed to me – when I know God literally saved me from a tragic event, when He provided comfort when my heart was in shreds, when He prevented my children from being negatively impacted because of my poor parenting skills, when He offered grace instead of judgment, when He loved me even though all I had to offer was my filthiness. I recall all these blessings, and my heart melts with gratitude… a loving Father Who has “blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!”
I am so thankful that a day was designated as “Thanksgiving Day.” However, unlike the uncle, God offers us a bag chocked full of spiritual goodies daily. And unlike the little girl, I know that I not only benefit from receiving His blessing, but I also benefit from offering thanks as we learn in Psalm 22:3: “God inhabits the praises of His people.”
And we begin to understand not only God’s ability to bless, but also His desire to create a conduit through which His blessings never slow or stop. He offers, we accept, offer thanks, and we know that He is present in every situation good or bad. Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
We have all experienced tough situations. It is in these times that our praises are elevated to a higher level. “We need you, Lord, and we are so thankful that you are near. We thank you for bringing good from this situation as you promise. Even though we can’t see anything good in the moment, we are thankful that a positive outcome does not depend on us. It’s in your hands. Thank you!!!”
As we enjoy His presence, thanksgiving becomes a natural response, not a contrived emotion. So not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, we reach into His goodie bag, welcome His presence, and bask with heartfelt gratitude in the warmth of His love and abundance…