BY PASTOR TIM NAPPE -- HARBOR OF JOY LUTHERAN CHURCH
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." -- Psalm 107:1
My mother has a plaque on the wall in her kitchen. It reads, "Happiness is not getting what you want. It is being grateful for what you have."
As the holidays approach, it is disconcerting to watch the news on the television or open a newspaper. While we are among the most prosperous people on the planet, we are also among the most demanding. While we have been richly blessed as a nation, we seem to constantly expect and require more.
I recognize that our nation is far from perfect and that there are injustices that need to be addressed, but we must also keep our blessings in perspective. On our worst day, we are still more fortunate than the majority of the world's population on their best day.
I have had the privilege of traveling in some Third World areas of Africa and Mexico. I have seen firsthand the plight of poverty. I have spoken with people who would feel blessed to have to opportunity to live in my garage or garden shed. It would be a huge improvement over their current conditions.
I have also been impressed with their joy and gratitude. They were welcoming, gracious and generous. They were willing to share the little that they had with me and they wanted to make sure that I felt welcome and secure.
I have to also acknowledge the source of their joy. The people that I met were believers in Jesus Christ and they recognized that they had been richly blessed by Him. Their blessings were certainly not limited to the size of their bank account or the comforts of their home. They were blessed to be children of God! They were prosperous in spiritual matters.
They had learned the truth that is expressed in the verse from Psalm 107, "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." It is found not only is Psalm 107, but many other places as well.
We give thanks, not merely for the things that we have but because of the God that we serve! We serve a great God! He is good, and his love is everlasting! He has showered us with blessings that we do not deserve and did not earn. He has many more blessings stored up for those who trust Him.
That is why we are thankful, not because we are good, not because our world is good. We give thanks, because God is good!