November 21, 2016
Get busy; you don’t have much time…
Lots to do this week. At the office, you’ve got to pull a rabbit out of the hat. It’s the annual holiday magic: get five days of work done in three, so you can duck-out on Wednesday around noon, to beat the travel rush. At home, you’ve got to make room for Big Bird (the turkey) and the Out-of-Towners (the other turkeys) who will all find places around your table on Thursday.
Over the next six weeks, you can expect to be asked The Three Questions: 1) “What are you thankful for?” 2) “What do you want for Christmas?” and, 3) “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” Deep inquiries for most; the answers generally fit Twitter-defined brevity…
With the lead-off question – asked this week – most don’t get it. They use Modern Math, and the “What are you thankful for?” formula fails because it’s missing a critical factor. Read on…
Archers are not notable because they fire arrows; their prowess is measured by how often they hit the target. Quarterbacks don’t win the game this week based on passes thrown; they succeed because of the ones that are caught. I cannot claim to be a “loving person” if there is no one to whom my love is bestowed. Gratitude is empty if it only recognizes the gift, but never mentions the giver.
From Paul, to the Romans: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:21-22).
How do you track the decline in human wisdom? One key marker: the creation migrates from knowledge of God and gratitude toward him toward the foolishness of denying his existence and only focusing on our own limited life experience…
The American tradition says that Thanksgiving is an “official” day for gratitude within our culture. The Christian tradition says that life should be marked by daily recognition of the provision of God in the abundance we enjoy: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20). Who is the target for the thanks we project?
Thanksgiving is great; don’t get me wrong! But, the unsophisticated practitioners who will crowd the tables on Thursday will be proving ineptitude in the practice of gratitude! As you exercise your influence in the festivities, make sure you show them how it’s done! What’s the secret?
In a nutshell, the formula: to + for = thanksgiving
Most people focus on the “for.” Real thanksgiving requires a “to” – the source of the “for” – to express gratitude. A thank-you note for a gift has to be addressed to the giver, or it lands in the dead-letter box, alongside the Santa Claus stack. To whom are you grateful, and… for what?
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:5-6). Whatever your main course, do it right!
On Thursday – and, everyday – recount your blessings, sure… but don’t forget the Giver while you celebrate the gifts!
By the way, I’m grateful to God for your part in my life. You – reading my Point of View – are a gift, from Him, to me. Happy Thanksgiving!