An article in Psychology Today told of a man who committed three hours a day for ten years to find something wrong with everything. He then either wrote to or talked to someone to complain about what was wrong. He did that for ten years of his life. Psychology Today concluded that his only accomplishment was to make himself miserable for ten years. That's life, isn't it? There are many things that can't be changed, many possessions we want, or accomplishments we may not achieve, but if we spend our lives trying, we will be miserable. A man said that if he just had $100 he would be happy. A friend overheard his comment and gave him $100. He then said that he wished he had asked for $200. Satisfaction comes from within. A. W. Tozer said gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make which makes us much richer.
In his heyday, it was said that every word that Rudyard Kipling wrote was worth 25 shillings. Hearing this, a group of college students offered him 25 shillings for his best words. Mr. Kipling telegraphed these students a few days later with one word. "Thanks."
Thankfulness is the gist of life. A woman prayed that Jesus would help her to appreciate what she has before life forced her to appreciate what she had. How do you live a life of thanks?
Many people respond to life like the lead character in Ronald Redmond's play Cold Storage, which is about a Jewish man named Joseph who was battling a life-threatening disease that caused pain and discomfort. A Jewish art dealer friend visited Joseph and urged him to talk about the illness. After Joseph stumbled around with his words, his friend said in frustration that he needed to get to the point. He blurted, "The point is, there is no point. And that, my Jewish friend, is the secret of the Universe. I, Joseph Parmegian, have solved the problem that 5,000 rabbis with 5,000 beards working for 5,000 years could not solve. There IS NO point." Contrary to Joseph's conclusion, for us the point IS that giving thanks is not just gratitude shooting out. It is giving thanks to someone, to Jesus. It is personal; we know Him.
When Penny and I were married we sent out invitations to the wedding. Remember, Penny's family was fairly wealthy and mine was well … poor. I'm a PK. She had four baths; we had four paths. When the gifts arrived from her family's friends, they were really nice but I didn't know the people who sent them. They weren't personal. Even though the gifts from my side of the family were smaller, I knew their names. They meant something to me. They chose the gift for me. That is what God did for us. He made it personal. He gave us Jesus, and it is not powerful unless it is personal.
In his book Dear Zoe: Letters To My Miracle Grandchild, Max De Pree tells of his granddaughter who, born prematurely, only weighed 1 lb. 7 oz. at birth. The doctors only gave her a 5-10 percent chance of survival. When Max visited Zoe for the first time, the nurse told him that for the next few months he would be Zoe's surrogate father.
She told him to visit Zoe every day. He needed to rub her tiny body, hands, and legs each day with his fingers. While he was caressing her, he needed to tell her how much he loved her. This would allow Zoe to connect his voice to his touch. Zoe lived because Max became her surrogate father. We have a Perfect Father who made it possible to connect to His touch and with His voice. He sent us Jesus who touches us personally. When He died and rose again that first Easter, He opened the door for us to be a part of God's family. A surrogate Father has adopted us.
A friend asked a little girl who was adopted what adoption meant. She responded that it meant she grew in Mommy's heart rather than her tummy. We are thankful because God grew us in His heart, and He sent His Son so He could connect His heart with His touch. For those who struggle with the concept, remember that God is not a reflection of your earthly father, but the standard of perfection for your earthly father. At creation we see the hand of God, but at the cross we see His heart.
That's the point. If you don't understand that then you might as well be thankful for venetian blinds because if it weren't for venetian blinds, it would be curtains for us all.