Have you ever been told that you need to be thankful? I have. I have even told others that they need to be thankful. It is a Biblical command after all (Col 3:15 and many others). As I was reflecting on this command with Thanksgiving in mind it struck me how strange it is. You can’t just tell people to be thankful, or can you? Is thankfulness a state or an act, or both?
Take friendships for example. Maybe you’ve been in a situation where you were told you need to be friends with someone. How did that go? I venture to guess not very well. That is not how friendships work. Friendships form from an inner disposition of two people to be friends with each other, which in turn leads to certain actions that produce a friendship. This usually cannot happen under compulsion. You cannot command friendships.
I think something similar is true in regards to being thankful. The command to be thankful is much more that simply offering a prayer of thanks, or sharing with someone what you are thankful for. It is a call to know yourself, to check your heart.
Being thankful is not like taking the trash out or even reading your Bible. It is not something you can plan for and accomplish with the help of Omnifocus. It is a state of being. It is the flavor of your life. It is the aroma you give off to others.
Thanksgiving should not merely be about remembering to be thankful or even a renewed commitment to grow in being thankful. Our time can be much more useful in reflecting. Don’t be to quick in identifying that you are not thankful. Seek to know why, search for the cause, work on the state of your being.
I hope this Thanksgiving you heard about being thankful. I hope you we encouraged and told you must be thankful. But more than that I hope you are not simply focused on the command, but on the heart that makes obedience a reality.