What My Granddaddy Taught Me About Thankfulness
My mother’s father was a pastor for over 50 years, and along with my other grandparents, shaped my life immeasurably. My granddaddy radiated God’s love to others, and to this day his legacy is woven into our family’s lives; seldom a week go by when his name isn’t mentioned or a story recounted.
One of his gifts was his continuous positivity. After spending time with him, you walked away feeling as if you’ve been cheered on by a stadium full of fans. His natural countenance was a smile. He would always remind you of how much God loves and cares for you, too. One way he would do these things is through quoting Scripture.
There is one particular verse that he quoted most often, a verse that has come to represent his life. It's Psalm 118:24:
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Granddaddy would encourage each of us to give thanks regardless of our difficulties or sorrows. And, what’s even more powerful is that, yes he would speak this to us, but his life truly reflected it! This verse sits in our kitchen, and every day I pass by it and am reminded of its impact on my life.
The day looks different when we wake up and see it as a gift from the Lord, doesn’t it?
And yet, this is so hard sometimes. There are real reasons in our lives that make us NOT want to rejoice. Overall busy-ness. Relational strife. Job issues. Health problems. These issues and many more weigh us down (and rightly so).
How do we approach each day with a heart of praise to God?
I am reminded of the disciples’ fear of the storm they encountered in Matthew 8. Even though Jesus was in the boat with them, when things looked bad, they were scared and maybe even a little angry. They questioned Jesus. Yet, in the midst of the storm, they turned to Him and their faith was rewarded. Jesus had the power to calm the literal storm and He has the power to calm the storms in our lives.
Daily turning our eyes towards Jesus and the gifts He brings is opposite of what our culture tells us to do. The focus is typically on ourselves, the problems we’re facing, or what all we need to get done before the sun comes up, or all the responsibilities we have, and so on. When we take this mindset, the day becomes defined by our burdens or our checklists rather than gratefulness at what God has given us.
I challenge you and me both to focus on this verse today. Then tomorrow do it again. And the next day and the next.
How would our lives be different if, for the next week, we concentrated on truly living out a spirit of gratitude to the Lord for who He is and all He has done?
I can testify that it will produce a life that shines outward with God’s love. My Granddaddy’s life proved this. I want mine to prove it as well. And I want it for you too.