With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, allow me to ask: Would you rather develop a thankful mindset throughout the year or squander Thanksgiving Day with food and parades and football?
Don’t get me wrong: I love food and parades and football, but none of these move me to thankfulness. I am therefore vowing to better practice the following ideas, with the hope that I can learn to be more and more thankful throughout the entire year. Won’t you join me?
1. Give money.
The most fun you will ever have with your money is giving it away, so watch for opportunities. Do you know a deserving college student who could use some help? How about a single mom who needs some new tires for her car? In order to be poised to give, my wife and I follow a very simple practice: We place budgeted cash in our “Bless” envelope every month – think of it as a giving fund.
We love to have ready cash to help anyone who has a need. Jesus said that giving is better than receiving for a reason: giving purges selfishness and releases thankfulness. It is very difficult to be self-centered when you are focusing on the needs of others. Give it a try and you will get hooked – all year long.
2. Give appreciation.
What prevents you from telling your loved ones just how much you appreciate them? You probably think those thoughts, so why not act on them?
Start today . . . call (or visit) a former teacher, preacher, boss or co-worker. Let your parents and your siblings know how much you appreciate them. And, of course, keep the practice going with your spouse and children.
Helpful hint: Teach (maybe require) your children to regularly say something good about each other. As we were raising our four children, we often insisted (usually in the midst of arguments and fights) that they each say something nice about each other. Guess what? They are still great friends today.
When you demonstrate your appreciation, your relationships will be enriched beyond measure and you will discover a thankfulness you may have previously overlooked.
3. Give of your time and talents.
Whatever talents you have, try using them to serve others – during Thankgiving, Christmas, and beyond! When our church’s youth group visited a church member with terminal cancer, they sang hymns to her. She was moved to tears . . . contagious tears. Her thankfulness was evident and her delight deeply impacted the kids.
Whether you can do carpenter work, flower arrangements, or simply rake leaves, the giving of yourself will produce a thankfulness in others. Go ahead. Step outside your comfort zone and give of yourself. You will never regret it.
This concept is simple: Giving others something to be thankful about produces a thanksgiving mindset in you. Jesus put it this way . . . .
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38 NIV
I am therefore wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving, not only on the 4th Thursday of November, but for every day for the rest of your life!
What makes you thankful? Which of these ideas do you plan to improve on in your own life? Let me start by saying that I could do much better at expressing appreciation. I think it but I don’t put those thoughts into action often enough. How about you? Leave a comment!