For this weekend following Thanksgiving , Dwayne delivered a sermon about the basics of living a thankful lifestyle. He asked questions about what we can thank God for in the middle of difficult situations and why it’s important to practice Thanksgiving in general.
Living out of a center of gratitude to God is how the Christian life is meant to be lived. When we grasp the amazing work of God in our lives we are truly thankful. The Apostle Paul said this well when he wrote: (I Thess.5:16-18) “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Dwayne Polk helped us engage with this topic by taking us to the passage above with this question in mind: “What is the will of God for us?” This is a case where the difficulty lies not in understanding something but in doing it. To make this more concrete, Dwayne shared with us how he started out thanking God for the moon and all of the benefits to our planet and our lives here on Earth as a result of God’s having created the moon. Then he thanked God in a similar way for the sun and our atmosphere.
Dwayne drew an analogy to parenting because just like children benefit from the activity of their parents, we benefit greatly from the creative, sustaining work of God in our lives—right down to the very breath of life within us. And just like children tend to take their parents supporting activities for granted, we too take God’s sustaining work for granted. This insight can help us to remember the very many things we do have to be thankful for!
Dwayne offered these tips for applying this in our own lives:
1. We can chose to practice thanking God in intense situations by starting with something small that we can thank God for, even in a difficult moment with a difficult person. If we keep at it, we’ll begin to realize that there are much bigger things to be thankful for in that same situation as well!
2. We can take some time out of our day to have a “Thank you” break time with God. This would have four sections:
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— Thank God for who God is!
— Thank God for creating you and who you are.
— Thank God for people you love in your life.
— Thank God for people you struggle with in your life.