Being thankful to the God who created us and loves us.
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We walked up the dusty road to a small hut on the side of a hill. This 100 year old Maasai grandmother approached us with amazing energy and joy in her step. She took our hands in hers, thanking us many times for coming. She was genuinely warm and welcoming, truly thankful that we were there to visit her and her family.
Most of us are taught to say thank you as a small child, often because it’s the polite thing to do. We don’t want to be thought of as rude and we may think less of those who don’t say it. At the Thanksgiving table some have a tradition of each family member saying what they are most thankful for that year, but the words are not directed to anyone in particular. It’s popular to pursue an attitude of gratitude as if it were some magic potion that would change our lives for the better. But giving thanks is what God wants from us as His children—giving it freely to Him—not selfishly or to the universe.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. “
1 Thessalonians 5:18 New Living Translation
“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” Psalm 50:22 New Living Translation
That sweet grandmother, who lives in a small hut with her family and six grandchildren, poured out thankfulness from her heart. She was grateful God sent us to her. She was thankful even in the midst of her fears. She told us that she feared three things—lions, hyenas and the night. While she was afraid of lions in the night she wasn’t afraid of the Lion of Judah. She thanked Him for protection—her very life each day.
“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”
Psalm 28:7 New Living Translation
Right now ask yourself what you are most thankful for in your life. Have you thanked God with a grateful, joyful heart, because He is God and He loves you?
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”
Psalm 100 New Living Translation
“And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15b New Living Translation
Text and photo Desiree Bustamante