A Lot To Be Thankful For

By Greg Quinn

November 23rd, 2011

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, 2011.  Time to loosen up the belt, eat way too much great food, and spend time with family.  Most importantly, it’s time for us to reflect upon all the blessings that we have in our lives.  While we live in a world with a bad economy, wars, disasters, mean people, sin in abundance, etc., we still need to take the time to think about what is good about our lives, people we know, the world in which we live.  And say a big “thank you” to the God in Heaven who made it all possible.

I tell people often, that when things look bad, look around.  You can always find someone who is doing much worse than you.

Perhaps this year has been very hard on you financially.  Maybe you’ve lost your job and are barely getting by.  Perhaps you’ve lost your home.  Life financially has really kicked you in the teeth.  Look around.  When you still have a home to live in, look at the homeless man on the corner who has no home.  When you still have money to buy a burger instead of the steak you really want, think about the mother who would love to be able to give that burger to her hungry child.  When bill collectors call, thank God you still have a phone with which to receive the call.  When you cannot afford gas for your car, thank God you still have a car.  There are many that do not.  When you cannot afford to buy that new camo outfit for hunting, or that new scope, thank God you have a gun with which to hunt, and clothes to wear, and live in a nation that gives you the opportunity to hunt. 

To appreciate what you have financially, Dr. Quinn will give you a prescription.  Spend a couple hours this Thanksgiving weekend donating your time at a homeless shelter.  Hand out food to those who have little to eat; it will make you appreciate your refrigerator at home.  Watch those thankful to have a warm bed to sleep in on a cold night, and you’ll thank God for the home you have.  See the tears of the single mom with a couple of small kids who is thankful that her family isn’t on the street, and you will go home and hug your wife.  Think of those who do not have a job, and be thankful for the job you do have.

Instead of pondering on what you do not have, or what you have lost, think about what you have currently, and what you have gained.

Jesus said that if you gain the whole world and lose your soul, that you have lost it all.  Be thankful that you heard and accepted the message of Jesus Christ. No riches can compare.

If you are a Christian and have accepted the love of God as shown through the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for your sins, be thankful that you had the opportunity to hear the message of salvation.  Many around the world never had the opportunity to experience the love of God and the message of the cross.  Oh, how blessed we are that we heard about Jesus, and accepted his love.

If you go to a church, instead of complaining about how long the preacher preached, or that the room was too cold, or the music too loud, think of those that would love to freely worship.  Many around the world cannot.  Think of those in Africa who meet under a tree.  Think of those in China who meet secretly.  Think of those in Iran who risk being murdered for their faith.  Be thankful for your freedom of worship.

Instead of complaining about what clothes you have to wear, be thankful for them.  Look around at those who would be extremely thankful for the worst clothing in your closet. Be thankful.

It’s hard to not get upset with a teenager.  I remember those days well.  But instead of being overly upset with your teenage son for staying out too late, or your teenage daughter for dating the wrong boy, be thankful.  Look around.  There are men out there with daughters who got pregnant out of wedlock, daughters who ran away from home and became prostitutes, daughters who married guys who mistreat them and there is little they can do about it, and daughters who were raped and murdered or are missing.  Look into the face of the mother on TV who cries at the flag-draped casket of her only son who was killed in the war in Afghanistan.  Be thankful.

Marriages fall apart quite often for lack of appreciation.  The wife doesn’t appreciate the husband because the husband doesn’t bring home enough money.  Or the husband doesn’t appreciate the wife because she’s gained a few pounds, or because her cooking isn’t as good as his mother’s, or she fusses at the kids too much.  Be thankful.  There are women who would love to have a husband period, so they’d take yours.  There are many men who have no wife at all and would gladly take your wife.  The wife you fussed at for being stupid was smart enough to marry you, right?  The wife that might have gained those few pounds likely did so from having your children.  That wife that doesn’t have sex with you as often as you would like might act differently if you treated her better, or looked better yourself.  Those that lost a husband or wife this year would tell you to be thankful for the one you have.  Be thankful. 

Relationships are often the ones that give us the most fits.  And relationships are often the things most taken for granted, and most underappreciated.  Whether they are relationships with family, friends, parents, children, co-workers, or spouses, appreciate them.  Be thankful for them.  Try to make them better.

For the man who is mad at his brother, look at the kid in the 'hood holding his dead brother in his arms from a drive-by shooting.  For the girl who is angry at her sister for wearing her favorite sweater, think about the girl who has no sister or sweater.  For the man who fusses about his wife, look at the man who lost his wife to cancer.  For the son who is mad at his Dad for grounding him for coming in late, be thankful he has a father at home; there are many around the world who have no fathers.  For the lady who stays mad at her boss, be thankful you have a job and a boss at all.  For the guy who is tore up because the co-worker in the cubicle down the hall got your promotion, be thankful for your job and the ability to work.  Jesus died for people, people like you and I.  If Christ died for someone like your brother, or your boss, or your wife, what right do you have to criticize them?  Be thankful.

I got "whoopings" quite often as a kid.  Very often in fact.  But I’m sure I deserved every one I got, and probably deserved 100 times more that I didn’t get.  Even so, as a rebellious kid, I often stayed mad at my Dad who slung the belt with such aplomb.  “I certainly didn’t deserve this punishment”, I thought.  I was often bitter and angry with my Dad for mistreating me, or so I thought.  Then, the older I got, the more I understood.  The older I got, the wiser my Dad became.  And now, having lost my Dad this past summer, I would be very thankful indeed to have him whoop me again.  Now instead of thinking of any bad times at all, I think of all the good times we had together.  And am thankful for each one.  Watching ball games on the couch, or working together, or pitching a ball, or looking at bright new trucks.  I’d take all the whoopings all over again for more opportunities to spend time with my Dad.  But he’s with Jesus.  And I have memories, and the thankfulness that I had a good Dad.

My brothers and I fought often as kids, especially me and Jeff.  I’m the oldest, and Jeff is next, and we’d fight like cats and dogs.  But now I’m blessed to be working in Gunblast.com with two of my three younger brothers.  I love them and am thankful.

For the guy in the field who is upset because his tractor is old, be thankful that he has ground to till and crops to crow and rain for water and food for his family.  

For the man with a job he hates, be thankful he has a job. 

For the lady who must cook on an old cookstove, be thankful she has a home and a stove to cook upon.

For the spouse who hates his mate’s snoring, be thankful that you have a spouse at all.

Another prescription from Dr. Quinn for thanklessness?  Instead of complaining about the clothes in your closet, pick out those you like the least (but that are still good quality) and donate them to your local Goodwill or homeless shelter.  Instead of complaining too often about your teenager, take them to dinner just you and them and tell them how thankful you are to have them in your life.  Instead of fussing about how much your brother aggravates you, tell him how much he means to you.  Instead of complaining about your wife’s cooking, thank her for taking the time to cook for you, clean your home, mother your children, etc.  If you’ve lost a loved one, as we have this year, then take more time with the ones you have left.  If you have food to eat, buy a meal for someone who does not.  If you have money to buy Christmas gifts for your kids, carve out a few extra dollars to buy a gift for a kid who has no father or mother.  If you have a closet full of guns with which to hunt, donate one that you never use to someone who would greatly appreciate the opportunity to hunt, or to a youth hunting program.  To be more thankful for your health, visit someone in a nursing home this holiday. 

Jesus taught us that the life we give away is the one that is most valuable.  When something is valuable, you are more thankful for it.  So, to gain more value from your life, give part of it away.  Donate your time and/or money to your church or a charity.  Help others in need.  Find ways to use what skills and talents God has given you.  In doing so, you will help others.  And, you will become more thankful.

The Pilgrims suffered long winters and many dangers to survive and enjoy a bountiful harvest the next fall.  The same Indians that they warred shared with them and became their friends.  All were thankful.

The Apostle Paul suffered many nights in prison, yet wrote some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. While he could have been distraught for his situation, he was thankful to have an opportunity to work for the God of Creation.

Jesus left Heaven, being God Himself, to come to earth as a poor child, live a very humble upbringing, and wait some 33 years to begin the reason He came to Earth, and that was to die as the penalty for our sins.  Yet, Jesus would have done it for any single one of us, and would do so again.

We all have way too much to be thankful for.  Every blessing we have is from God.  Every good thing comes from above, the Bible says.  Be thankful.

I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving season.  God bless.

Greg Quinn