|I tend to think of gratefulness as cheesy. That’s terrible, I know. But it’s true. For me being thankful conjures up the image of a kid writing “God, family, friends, pets, toys” on the five feathers of a handprint turkey. Or worse, the image of a woman who is actually struggling, but smiles on the outside and fakely posts on social media about how she’s “#blessed”.
Yet I actually know that thankfulness is not just something for children, or something you’re supposed to pretend to be when you’re not. In fact, Scripture commands us to be thankful, and describes the serious consequences if we are not.
Romans 1:21 says, “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.” Not giving thanks to God led people to think up “foolish ideas of what God was like,” which later in the chapter led them into sin. I know that when I am not thanking God for His blessings and His sovereignty, what He has given me and where He has placed me, I can easily fall into lies about who God is. I can believe that He is not a God who wants the best for me, but a God who is withholding things from me as a punishment for my imperfections. I can believe that He is a God who is not fair when I see others with circumstances that I desire. And when I start to believe that, I start to sin in my pursuit to get those things I want.
Psalm 84:11b says, “no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” The truth is that God will not withhold anything good from me. So, if He withholds something that seems good to me, I can rest assured that whatever it is would not be for my greatest good. When I believe this truth about God, it frees me from the sins of worry, envy, trying to control others, and selfish striving.
And what does thankfulness do? It reminds me to rejoice in the blessings of God that I can see, and rejoice in the character of God when I can’t see the blessings. The fact that He loves me, He is just, He is in control, and He is working all things for good is so precious, and something to be so thankful for.
I am growing a lot in thankfulness lately. I do have so many blessings that I am thankful for, and I am learning to dwell on what God has given me more than what He has not. Thankfulness is not childish. It is not meant to be insincere. It is a shield of protection against sin, and it is a wellspring of joy.
Our prayer is that this Thanksgiving, you can be thankful to our good, good, Father, the giver of all good things. Yes, even in 2020.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
– 37 missionaries made it back to PNG this month!
– It looks like the school will be able to start again in January!
– Homeschooling continues to go well!
– He is growing us in thankfulness!
– for Matt as he balances working two jobs
– for Karissa as she balances homeschooling and preparing to teach
– for Karissa’s headaches
– that another group of missionaries will be able to come in December
What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus: Pray for the Menya church. Praise God that the gospel of Mark and the book of Acts in the Menya language have now been drafted! They are very close to finishing the book of Romans! Pray for the missionaries there for endurance, and that the church would grow in their understanding of God as they are able to read more and more of His Word in their own language!