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Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
By default, I think many of us spend our days focused on our own needs, wants, and desires. From basic health and nutrition to our ambitions and dreams, we are wired to care chiefly about ourselves.
As Augustine said, because of sin and brokenness we as human beings are “curved in upon ourselves.” Yet the beauty of the gospel is that when we encounter the love of Christ, not only are we made new, but we also learn to turn our focus away from ourselves and onto the needs of others and the worship of almighty God.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Archbishop Michael Ramsey, who once said, “Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.” How true that is! If you struggle, as we all do, with an inflated sense of self-worth or self-interest, rush to plant yourself in the soil of thanksgiving. As Paul reminds us, lift up your heart and soul in thanksgiving and praise to God. Let the love of Christ dwell within you and heal you from the empty love of self.
You may today find yourself feeling helpless about your life situation and needs. You may on the other hand feel incredibly proud of your success and accomplishments. However, to focus on our failure or our success is to miss the heart of the gospel. In all things and at all times we are meant to respond to God with thankful hearts.
No matter how desperate your need, there is always so much for which you can give thanks. And no matter how great your success, you are always a child of God who must come to him with a humble heart of gratitude, acknowledging that all that you have comes from him alone (1 Chronicles 29:14).
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, take time today to intentionally look for ways to cultivate the soil of thanksgiving in your life. It is a God-given path to a genuinely joyful life!
The Rev. Tripp Prince
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