I talked to a friend the other day who lives in Michigan. He works for an international missions organization and travels all over the world. He’d just returned from sunny California back to the Michigan cold. I told him that here in the South, we’re enjoying our first weeks of Spring. “Well, the good news here in Michigan,” laughed my friend, “is that all the snow has finally melted.”
I’ve found most Midwesterners to be unusually cheerful. “Why is that?” I asked my friend. He answered matter-of-factly, “ I guess we just learn to be thankful for small things. Like the sun shining.”
Thankful for small things. Easy to say. Harder to do. That’s why I’ve tried to become more grateful for small things during our 21 Day Watch. The Bible says we are to devote ourselves to prayer, being “watchful and thankful.” Perhaps watchfulness and thankfulness come in pairs. If I am more watchful, then I’ll notice more answers to my prayers. Which makes me more thankful. So then I become more watchful. You get the point.
There’s daily evidence of God’s grace all around me, if only I take the time to notice. I had a friend whose teen-aged daughter did just that. Molly kept a gratitude journal, her “thank you book,” she called it. Molly said at first she could only find a few things each day for which to be thankful. But as she continued to practice thankfulness, her list began to number in the hundreds. I watched her personality blossom and grow until the young lady radiated joy.
During this 21 Day Watch:
1. I’m listing my prayers in a journal. I’m keeping watch for answers to these prayers, but also for the little unexpected blessings that come my way. Things I would never think to pray for. When they happen, I take a few minutes to jot them down and thank God for these surprise gifts.
2. Each day, I also take a few minutes to thank God for protection or correction. I’m learning to thank Him for warning me about sin or danger. Sometimes, I find He provides correction before He gives direction.
It warms my heart when my own children are thankful. I hope my thankful heart blesses God. I’m giving my gratitude to Him as an offering. As worship. As a kind of prayer. I’d like for this thankfulness to become a permanent part of my character.
I read a story about a young man returning home after World War II. He had endured countless hardships, fighting in fierce combat. Now in his eighties, he still remembers bending down to kiss the ground when he reached home. Overflowing with gratitude that day, he resolved this one thing: “I will never have another bad day.” Friends, if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have been bought with His blood and rescued from an eternity in Hell. We now have a relationship with the Lord of the Universe and the constant companionship of His Comforter and Helper, the Holy Spirit. Life is filled with daily blessings, large and small. Perhaps, like that soldier, we should resolve never to have another bad day.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful (Colossians 4:2).