For What - Or Whom - Are You Thankful?
- Nov. 21, 2011
- Robert Tamasy
This week millions of people all around the world will officially mark the observance of Thanksgiving Day, although it is perfectly acceptable to feel thankful at any time during the year. One of the good things about holidays like Thanksgiving Day is they provide specific motivation to pause, reflect and remember things – and people – for which we are grateful.
Typically, material things come to mind when we think in terms of blessings: our homes, food, clothing, income, jobs, good health. But have you ever considered directing your thanks toward those people that have made a positive impact on your life?
When I think of such individuals, I realize my list is fairly long. It includes: my parents; an uncle who was like a father figure to me, particularly during my teenage and college years; a number of teachers and professors, especially several that guided me in making key career decisions. Then there are the men who took the risk in hiring me to serve as editor of their newspapers, launching my career in journalism.
There also were those that hired me to join the CBMC staff, which proved a blessing both professionally and spiritually. My work at CBMC enabled me to fulfill my goals for writing magazine articles and books, and also introduced me to the life-changing process of mentoring other men on an individual basis.
Through my 20 years as a member of the CBMC team, I was able to attend conferences where I could learn from other professional writers and editors. In addition, I became friends with dozens of people I grew to admire for their dedication to their work – and serving God at the same time. They demonstrated how to successfully integrate faith and vocation, proving that Christianity and workplace concerns are not mutually exclusive, and can be effectively addressed without compromise.
Who are the people you are especially thankful for – those individuals who have left an indelible imprint on your life, helping to shape you into the person you are today?
Here are a few other suggestions the Bible offers regarding thanksgiving:
Be thankful for EVERYTHING. Often our expressions of thankfulness focus only on “good things” – things that make us happy. But the challenges of life, the adversities we encounter that contribute to our personal and professional growth, also are valuable and deserve appreciation. “Be joyful always…give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
No limits to thanksgiving. Those whose faith is in Jesus Christ can entrust him with every aspect of our lives. There is no need to fear the future, confident that God will provide for our needs and guide us in confronting whatever problems and needs we encounter. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Know the right one to thank. When expressing thanksgiving, some people credit good fortune or “luck,” fate or coincidence. The Bible teaches God guides our steps and is worthy of our thanks and praise. “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (Psalm 95:2).
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist for 40 years, he is the author of Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.
1. Do you have a formal observance of Thanksgiving Day, or some other specific occasion when you express thankfulness? If so, what does that look like for you, your family and friends that join you?
2. Who are some of the people in your life for whom you are especially thankful or appreciative – and what was the specific impact they have had in shaping who you are today?
3. Have you ever expressed thankfulness for the hard times in life – challenges and adversities that for a time seemed to be without resolution? Or do you think feeling and being thankful for difficulties makes no sense? Explain your answer.
4. If you were to express thankfulness for some things that are happening in your life right now, what would be the first thing that comes to your mind?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:
Psalm 100:1-5, 105:1-7, 106:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Colossians 2:6-7