Thanksgiving weekend is already past, however a pensive moment or two on the matter of thankfulness is always timely. For example, did you know that thankfulness is an essential component to the development of personal magnetism? In other words, a thankful person is someone that others want to be around.
Hans Seyle, famous for his research into stress, placed thankfulness or feelings of gratitude at the top of the list of constructive emotions resulting in peace of mind and feelings of security. He also claimed thankfulness is directly related to success in life.
An ancient fable relates how a man found the barn where Satan stored his evil seeds waiting to be sown in human hearts. He discovered that the seeds of discouragement outnumbered all the others and Satan boasted that these would grow anywhere. When the man questioned the validity of his statement he reluctantly admitted that there was one place where he could never get seeds of discouragement to grow. The man asked him, “And where is that?” Satan replied sadly and reluctantly, “In the heart of a thankful person.”
The previous fictional account emphasizes the fact that being thankful is not simply mind over matter or feel good therapy. It is powerful and practical – it works! A man visited his wife in the intensive care unit of a hospital. His pastor asked him later, “How is she?” The husband responded, “It is touch and go, but she recognized me, we held hands and prayed together. And then I read her the passage in the epistle of James that says ‘Consider it joy, my brothers, when you face trials of every kind…’” He added, “I have discovered that it’s impossible to be anxious and thankful at the same time.”
Thankfulness has more to do with attitude than abundance. A lonely person might appreciate a visit more than a popular individual with a party thrown in their honor. Someone who is hungry might be more thankful for meager fare that a rich person with a banquet spread before them. A Bible in the hands of a persecuted Christian in an oppressive land might evoke more praise than a North American believer with several copies of the Scriptures and Christian books and magazines in every room. Martin Luther addressed this concept well when he said “The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.”
Finally, genuine thankfulness incorporates humility. Marian Anderson (1897 – 1993), following an outstanding performance in New York City, sang encore after encore at the request of her large audience. More than 1,000 people stayed behind hoping to greet or even catch a glimpse of the lady whose music had just moved them so deeply. Seeing them lingering, Marian stepped out on the balcony, stood silently for a moment and then said quietly, “Thank you for letting me sing.”
I hope that your long weekend was safe, enjoyable…and thankful.