This morning I saw a woman being interviewed on the news. Her big issue was that she was upside down on her mortgage. This is a common malady today. With property values plummeting around the country, people owe much more on their homes than they are worth on the open market.
She expressed frustration at working hard and not being able to get ahead. I think we can all relate to that at some level. And that frustration and anxiety builds as we see people protesting in the streets. We see other countries in even greater turmoil. Leaders are being overthrown and the new systems of government seem worse than the last.
What do we do? What can we do to make a positive impact in this tumultuous world? How do we handle our own fears, questions and anxiety? Well, the holiday we celebrate in November holds a key.
1. Giving thanks makes us focus on what God has done instead of what we think He should do. The biggies include that God has given us His Son! Jesus is the big prize for the world – a Savior and Lord who knows us, loves us and gave everything for us. Then there is the Word of God, by which we can know our Creator and the Holy Spirit who gifts us and empowers us for life in the here and now.
2. Giving thanks helps us clarify our needs by putting them into perspective with what we have. It is true that an upside-down mortgage can be worrisome. But the woman interviewed on TV had a job. She was still able to be in her home, by making her payments. She was well-clothed and well-fed. She may have had fear about what the future would hold financially, the truth is she had what she needed today. That’s worth giving thanks for! And it puts the one troubling issue into perspective.
3. Giving thanks enables us to be a positive influence for those around us. People need to have others around them that remind them of what is good, right and beautiful. Our world doesn’t need more grumblers. But the world needs the influence of people who are filled with joy and live with peace.
4. Giving thanks frees us to live by faith! Living by faith isn’t living blindly but living with trust in the One who created us and redeemed us. Jesus said that no fallen sparrow is unnoticed by God, so how could He neglect us? He knows us and we can trust Him.
How will you get in the habit of “thanks?” It is needed in this world of turmoil. And maybe your problems are bigger than the woman with an upside-down mortgage. Giving God thanks for the things He’s done will enlarge your confidence in a God who cares about you.