Hi everyone, Rob here. The past few days have seen a number of strong earthquakes hit the central part of New Zealand, including our capital city, Wellington. My parents, sister and a number of friends (including the co-contributor to this blog-site) were all affected. I’m thankful that they are all fine and that the earthquakes have caused very little damage considering their strength. But I’ve also been thinking lately that thankfulness can’t be dependent on good things happening to us or things going our way. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This tells me that thankfulness has to come from somewhere deep inside us, something core, from our heart, from our true identity in Christ. It’s not just something we do, but it needs to be part of who we are.
My 6 year old son has recently discovered computer games. We found a good, clean, simple car racing game that he became obsessed with. The problem was that all other family activities paled in comparison to playing this game. He became ungrateful for the good things he had when he couldn’t have what he wanted. He’s getting better as he gets used to the limits that we have put around computer time, but it reminded me that thankfulness needs to be learnt and practiced before it becomes part of our identity.
I’m still learning and still practicing but it’s becoming more natural these days. I’ve always been polite. I was brought up to say please and thank you but good manners can become a façade. It has taken time for me to develop an attitude of genuine thankfulness. I’ve found that being truly thankful for the outward things like my family, my church and my work, stems from being truly thankful for my life in Christ. When I meditate on the fact that I belong to Christ, his Spirit dwells in me, I’ve been given a new heart, I’m a son and an heir, I’m a friend of the King and the beloved of God, I’m forgiven and free, I’m whole and holy in God’s eyes, then I find that my whole being is alive with thankfulness. That’s what I’m trying to practice: stopping, breathing, remembering and saying thank you Jesus that you are my life.
Practice doesn’t always go well! There’s still too many moments of ungratefulness in my life, but then his Spirit helps me to remember again that sin is not the truest thing about me. I’m an intimate ally of the King Jesus and as I receive his forgiveness and restoration won for me at the cross, I once again say Thank You!
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7