Tragedy Led To The First Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States was birthed out of tragic circumstances.
After a brutal winter in 1620-1621, half of the Mayflower Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony died. But, with the help of a few English-speaking native Americans, Governor William Bradford and the surviving colonists were successful in establishing a colony and raising their first crop of corn. As a result, Governor Bradford organized the very first “Thanksgiving” feast, a festival that lasted three days! They gave thanks to God for helping them survive a very difficult first year in the New World.
As Christians, an attitude of thanksgiving should be a spiritual outcome of making it through difficult circumstances. Unfortunately though, I fear many times we get angry and bitter with God for His allowing us to go through the difficult circumstances in the first place.
Here are some outcomes of a thankful attitude, no matter the circumstances.
3 Powerful Outcomes To Being Thankful
1. An attitude of gratitude allows us to be content with what we have in this moment in time.
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
God’s will for you is to be thankful in all things. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a great day, week, or even year. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you have everything that you could ever want or need. Acknowledge that He is in charge, that He has a plan for your life, and that you need to be thankful, no matter the circumstances. Focus on what God has given you, not on what you don’t have in your life in this moment in time. If you’re still above ground and sucking wind, then you have at least one thing to praise God for – life!
2. An attitude of gratitude keeps us humble and dependent on God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.” – Henry Ward Beecher
God desires your complete devotion and dependence on Him. This is the core essence of a growing relationship with the Lord. This is why He possibly allows difficult circumstances to enter our lives – to keep us humbly dependent on Him. A true attitude of thanksgiving is a natural result of being in total surrender to Him and His will.
3. An attitude of gratitude compels us to share with others.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:12-13)
“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” – W. Clement Stone
Thankful people share. They share their lives, their abilities, and their finances. They give to others because they want to, not necessarily because they have to. This is all a natural outgrowth of a truly thankful heart.
Questions: Do you have an attitude of thanksgiving, no matter the circumstances in your life? Do you find yourself displaying these three outcomes of contentment, humility, and sharing? If not, why not?