Grumbling. It’s in vogue right now. It seems that many people, particularly in developed nations, have got a grumble about something or someone. Don’t believe me? Turn on the TV, read the comments section of Youtube, listen to how people on their lunch break talk about others. We’re a pretty restless and discontented people.
But Christians are meant to be different. Those who follow Jesus Christ have much to be thankful for. In a personal relationship with our Creator, we have a way of seeing things in the bigger perspective of life and eternity. We know that God is working to a good plan. We know he blesses us in so many ways. We know he’ll bring justice and healing to this world. And we know his grace and love, because they’ve been proven at the cross of Jesus.
We know that there are more and better reasons to be thankful than to be grumbling. Which is why in many places in the Bible we are encouraged to be thankful:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever!” (Psalm 136:1)
“Do everything without grumbling or complaining so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:13-14)
During the month of September, our church tried something different. We called it “30 Days of Thankfulness”. We spent a whole month trying to focus on things we can be thankful for. Every Sunday we heard from 3 people who spoke from the front of church about what they are thankful for. We heard stories about passed loved ones, the joy of family, the privileges of being in the church, and the life-changing reality of the gospel. We even heard a Trinitarian hymn sung in Samoan! There were smiles, tears, and nods of the head. It was a joy.
We also provided laminated cards on the wall of the church so that people could write down what they’re thankful for, for all to see.
Here are some of the things that were written down:
“Salvation through Jesus Christ”
“The lovely friends and families that you have given us XOXO”
“Our church and Matt and all the elders that run the church!”
“The man who led me to Jesus”
“Our Samoan friends”
“KATIE!” [note: Katie is our hard-working pastoral assistant who blesses our church in so many ways]
“Access to the Bible and literacy – things many others don’t have”
“The friend who walked in when others walked out!”
“The loving Lord & the love of the Christian community”
“Matt and his Bible-based preaching”
“Our children and the fun times we have with them”
“Scottie T” [note: Scott is a musician in our church and an all-round great bloke]
“My family, friends, the beauty of God’s creations and the gifts he continues to give me daily”
There were also many other things written down or shared that I haven’t mentioned.
The bottom line is this whole month was a huge blessing to our church and a reminder that we actually have so much to be thankful for.
Our prayer is that you don’t stop thinking of reasons to be thankful! Every day, look around you and you’ll see things to be thankful for. And don’t just focus on the good gifts of life – look up to your loving gift-giver!
Soli Deo gloria.