THANKFULNESS: INTROSPECTION’S PERSONAL STORY


William Andrew Dillard

Americans who claim to be Christians have a fairly strong conviction that they are indeed a thankful people. Perhaps that perception arises out of experiences of the past century. It was only one hundred years ago that the world was relieved by the ending of World War I, the war said to be the bloodiest of all wars. With that war ending, the nation entered an era of unparalleled prosperity in the roaring twenties. But so, soon was the rug yanked out from under the nation with the financial collapse of 1929, followed by a decade-long, Great Depression. Next, came World War II, then the Korean conflict, and Vietnam. Through these monumental events also came industrial, educational, and technological break-through in rapid advancement. The inflationary measures that now loom as a doomsday pitfall, was viewed as a blessing a half century ago, When, at last, people had some money. Production of material things flooded the markets for people to buy. There came new cars, new houses, new clothes, and a million other things. People were happy. People were thankful. Really?
Some pundit said that “America is the only country on earth where people will trample you to get to annual sales items on the day after they proclaimed they were truly thankful for what they have.” Somehow, that paints a mental picture that is oxymoronic, and far from the humble, grateful spirit – the attitude of gratitude – so prominent among the early pilgrims. They knew it was only by the grace of God that they survived the harsh obstacles of life in an undeveloped land.
But thankfulness is not an attitude franchised by the poor, deprived, and/or oppressed upon their achieving better circumstances. It is rather a vastly important plank in the platform of wisdom to those who seize and employ its model. Whether poor or wealthy, ignorant or educated, ill or healthy, the blessings of the Almighty are superabundant to those who look for them. And, the look need not be far. A peek deep down inside at a view restricted to the individual and God tells it all, and it does not lie. What is the scene? Is it spoiled, selfish longing for some self-exalting acquisition of popularity, power, or material thing that will ultimately contribute to ruin? Is it gratefulness to God for life itself? Is it the mountainous blessings afforded God’s children, and a heart of thankful realization upon confronting or hearing of so many unfortunate cases which evoke a soft, sincere, whisper: “There, but by the grace of God go I.” Truly, those who know Jesus the Christ on a personal basis should be the most thankful people on the planet. Introspection! How does it tell your story?

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