A religious leader prayed, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like these other people” (Luke 18:11). He went on to enumerate some of the ways he was unlike others. He was not “greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer.” Those are certainly undesirable qualities and it is alright to express gratitude to God for enabling you to avoid such practices. But the Pharisee’s prayer was one of arrogance, not humility.

Most likely if you are reading this you can rightfully acknowledge good qualities that you possess and point to behavior that is honorable. With God’s help you have avoided some of the undesirable conduct and destructive attitudes that can be observed in others. But if we are honest with ourselves we recognize that we are no better than any other human being regardless of who we are or what traits we exhibit. It is a good thing to give thanks for God’s help in shaping our character but arrogance is never appropriate.

During this holiday many of us will also pause to give thanks for the things we have that enrich our living. We know that “Every good gift … comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator” (James 1:17, Good News Translation). It is right and a good thing to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all of our blessings.

At the same time we express our gratitude to God for the many things that enrich our living, let us be mindful of others who are not so fortunate. Whether it is good health or possessions or privilege, there are many other equally deserving people who lack those things for which we are thankful. Our thanksgiving should produce humility in us as we realize how blessed we are and lead us to discover how we can share our abundance.

On this Thanksgiving Day (and every day) “It is a good thing to give thanks to God, to proclaim God’s constant love every morning and God’s faithfulness every night.” (Psalm 92:1-2).

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes

Jamie Jenkins

 

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