"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. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17 ESV
A couple of years ago, I went on a missions trip to Haiti with several people from Northwood Community Bible Church, as well as people from other churches in different parts of the country. Many of us were making the trip for the first time, while others were on their second or third return visit to the island. Across the entire group, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation.
As we arrived in Port au Prince and made our way out of the airport into the bustling streets, the sights, sounds, smells, and warmth of the tropical environment hit us in stark contrast to the cold winter snows we left behind. Haiti is at once a place of great beauty and devastation. The survivors of the major earthquake that struck the island several years ago have found ways to live and make the best of it, though they live amongst peril and deprivation. In many cases, the adaptations they have employed are simple, pragmatic ingenuity.
In the market place, I saw women who were selling food graters made from repurposed license plates. I saw necklaces made from plastic bottles that were cut into strips, rolled up and melted over a fire to form beads. Another man worked with long boards that he was milling with a hand saw. Everywhere people were using what they had available to them to make the best of a difficult situation.
And that’s when it hit me. I thought about the many resources around me that might otherwise be considered junk, but now seemed to take on a new perspective. I was filled with an appreciation for things that I had previously overlooked. I know that God has blessed me in so many ways, and I am thankful for that, but when I consider how even the things we throw away would be considered treasure by so much of the world, it blows me away. I think it is this kind of realization that makes Colossians 3:17 a realistic instruction, “…do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This Thanksgiving, you will have an opportunity to sit back and take a look at all of the blessings God has given to you, and give Him a sincere offering of gratitude. Instead of looking at the blessings of others, or giving in to the temptation to grumble about the things you lack, make it your goal to give thanks to the God who has given you every blessing you currently enjoy.
“...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things”… and give thanks.