An Abundant Harvest
- 2002 29 Nov
In December 1914, Thomas Edison's laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey caught on fire. When the great inventor realized the scope of the blaze, he enthusiastically sent word to his family and friends, "Get down here quick! You may never have a chance to see anything like this again!"
Edison lost 2 million dollars worth of equipment and the record of much of his life's work in that fire. The next day, he walked through the rubble with his son Charles. He said, "Charles, there's a great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew."
How many of us would be able to respond in gratitude after such a loss? With a thankful heart, Edison did start anew. Many of his greatest inventions were created after his first laboratory went up in smoke.
As the Thanksgiving season approaches, it seems easy to remember the importance of gratitude. But what about the other 364 days of the year? How can we reap the benefits of a thankful heart all year long?
Planting Seeds of Gratitude
First Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Unfortunately, many of us believe being thankful is something that good Christians learn to do instead of something all Christians are responsible to do. Try to find a loophole in I Thessalonians 5:18. What does it say to all of us? Be thankful.
Sure, we will experience days when we don't feel thankful. But we can determine to say "thank You, Lord" even when we don't feel like it.
Cultivating a Thankful Heart
If you have planted the seeds of thanksgiving in your heart, the water of God's Word will keep them alive. Ephesians 5:20 exhorts us to be, "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father." Psalm 100 verse 4 says to, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." The Bible tells us that whenever we come before God, whatever our purpose or prayer request, we are always to come with a thankful heart.
No matter what our circumstance, we can find a reason to be thankful. Let gratitude blossom in your life wherever you are planted. Some of you may find yourself in a family crisis or uncomfortable work situation. You're wondering how you can give thanks in the midst of your problems.
It's possible to be thankful wherever you find yourself. In Psalm 116:17, the psalmist says to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord. Make it a habit to say thank you to God verbally in prayer and praise.
The Fruit of Thanksgiving
The very spirit of thanksgiving transforms the life of the one who renders it. I have never met a sour, complaining, grateful person, have you? Show me a person who is thankful, and I'll show you a person who can endure the most difficult situation in life and still find joy.
William Law wrote many years ago, "Who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not the one who prays most or fasts most. It is the one who is always thankful to God, who receives everything as an expression of God's goodness, and has a heart ready to praise God for everything he gets. That is a saint."
Sowing and Reaping
The Bible makes it clear that you reap what you sow. If you plant seeds of gratitude, you can expect an abundant harvest of God's blessings. The opposite is also true. Ingratitude pays great dividends, both now and for eternity.
What a world of difference a heart of thanksgiving can make! Don't allow an ungrateful spirit to rob you of life's richness. Take time to thank God daily for who He is, and what He has done for you. Let this attitude of gratitude grow strong, not only at Thanksgiving, but through all the seasons of the year.
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's bi-monthly Devotional Magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.