The question of the day will be, what are you thankful for?
Most of us will look at all the little things we have in our lives, all the things that make our lives worth living, and we will say - this. I am thankful for this. I am thankful for my family, for my friends, for my job, for my home, for my dog, for my freedom, for my salvation, for my Jesus. Pressed to do so, most of us can rattle off a list of things that make our lives better and say, yes, I am thankful for this.
But here's the real question, the one that ought to challenge the way that we live: what would someone looking at your life say that you're thankful for?
Not what would someone looking at your life say that you have to be thankful for, but what would someone looking at your life say that you are thankful for? In other words, what are you living like you're thankful for?
The hard truth is that for most of us, the answer is...nothing. For most of us, despite all the good things and simple joys that we have in our lives, we are living empty of thankfulness.
We say how thankful we are for warm coats when the weather's turning, but the truth is that we throw them onto our backs every day without a single thought about it. We say that we're thankful for a roof over our heads, but none of us celebrates paying the mortgage every month. We say that we're thankful to live in a land of freedom, but then we try to strong-arm others into sharing our beliefs and values. We say that we're thankful for our friends and family and loved ones, but if we're honest with ourselves (and with them), we take them for granted, too.
All of the simple joys and tremendous blessings that we have in our lives have become so commonplace for us, so much a part of just the way that things are, that although we should be thankful for them, we're really not. At least, we're not living like we are.
We're living like they're givens. Like we deserve them somehow. Like we're entitled to them because, well, they've always been there. And now, we couldn't live without them.
This is something I have been thinking a lot about, particularly as November has moved along and a lot of persons have engaged in social media's "30 days of thankfulness." I've seen friends and family listing each day all of the things that they're thankful for, many of them the other human beings that they have in their lives. And I wonder, do those other human beings know - on April 12, on July 27, on December 1 - that you're thankful for them? Do they get the sense every day that they are a blessing in your life and that you couldn't do it without them?
Or are they just friends and just family and just, well, "here" 364 days a year?
I wonder the same thing about Jesus. A lot of us say we're thankful for Him. But does He know that? Does He know that on a day that's not today, when we are pressed to say it out loud? Does He know that on a day that's not our best day? Hey, does He know that on a day that's not a Sunday?
Today, as we sit around our tables and share what we're thankful for - and particularly with so many of those things and persons around our tables with us - I challenge you think about how your life would look different if someone from the outside looking in could tell that those are the things you're thankful for.
What if you lived like you're really thankful for them? Not just today, but every day?