Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this.” Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.” —Daily Bread, August 26, 1989.
The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth to settle in what became the United States of America can teach us an important lesson about always finding “something to be thankful for”.
During the first long winter, seven times as many graves were made for the dead as homes were made for the living. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn each.
However, the next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that a day be set aside for feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive. From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision.
Scripturally, we find the topic of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
According to today’s standards, the Pilgrims had almost nothing, but they had a profound and heartfelt gratitude to God for His love and mercy. We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about, but there will also be much to be thankful for.
“Rejoice evermore.” “Pray without ceasing.” “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).