Dr. Jackie Minor
As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been giving a great deal of thought to this blog. It makes sense at this time of year that I write about being thankful. I’ve really been praying for God to give me fresh thoughts. After all, when it comes to Thanksgiving, most of us will gravitate toward being thankful for our families, our jobs, our resources, and our God who is ultimately responsible for all we have. However, I feel there is more, so much more.
As I organized my thoughts, I was reminded of an experience I had in a classroom a few years ago. It was the week before Thanksgiving. The teacher asked a simple question, “What are you thankful for?” The students were then given a certain amount of time each to share with a partner. A sweet young girl (around second grade) turned to her partner and said, “I’m thankful Jesus loves me…” She paused, then announced, “…and He loves you too!” I almost started crying. Her voice was so genuine, so tender. There is no doubt she believed what she was saying with all her heart. I have never forgotten that moment.
This young child reminded me of what the Christian walk is all about. It all starts with Jesus’ love for me as declared in my very first memory verse. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is where it all began for me, but I have learned so much since then. As I grow in my relationship with Christ, my “thankful list” keeps growing. Here are just a few on my mind right now.
I can be thankful that God has a plan for my life. I can be assured His plan is perfect if I choose to be obedient and submit to His leading.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”. Jeremiah 29:11
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” John 14:23
I can be thankful for God’s provision. God is my provider, and I don’t need to worry!
By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3
And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. Luke 12: 29-31
I can be thankful for God’s constant presence in my life. He promises to always be there for me!
For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. John 14: 15-16
I can be thankful that I am God’s priority. Read that again! You are God’s priority, too! It boggles my mind that the God of creation seeks us out, loves us, and desires to know us individually.
I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 31:3
I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9
Before closing, let me share one last thought. In education, the term “growth-mindset” is everywhere. While I have no issues with this term at all, I wonder what it would be like if “thankful-mindset” were just as popular. What would happen if we approached every day remembering everything for which we are thankful? Would it impact our mindset? Would it impact our words? Would it impact our actions? I know it would mine. I am going to try very hard to start everyday thanking God for His plan, His provision, and His presence in my life. Won’t you join me?
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100