Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
— Psalm 107:1
Thanksgiving Day. It means big meals and big games. There have been some great Cowboys vs. Redskins matchups over the years. But honestly, in my mind, the biggest game of Thanksgiving was always “The Battle of the Cousins” over at Uncle Jim’s and Aunt Ruth’s. The lineup consisted of Miles, Lynn, Andy, Bobby, Byron and me. Now those were some games! I am thankful for those memories of family and those spirited, and semi-friendly battles on our gridiron!
It is a good thing that our country has a Thanksgiving Day. Over the years, our nation has emphasized a lot about different virtues. We value certain qualities in people. It seems we assign thankfulness a good bit of respect as a nation. We have for a long time. Throughout our nation’s history, our leaders and our people have extolled this quality. And even before our nation existed, Cicero wrote, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”
But it seems that we talk a lot more about being thankful than actually living grateful and thankful lives. A study of Scripture and of history points this out.
The truth is that some people are thankful. Others are not.
In Luke chapter 17, we are told of the time that Jesus healed 10 people who had leprosy. In an hour of need, they all seemed to know that they needed help, and they turned and called out to Jesus. He healed them. Verse 15 tells us that, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.”
One chose to come back and give thanks. Where were the other nine? Why did they not take the time to give thanks to the healer? Why did they not respond with a grateful heart? The reasons were probably varied and would take time to dissect. But the reason the one returned praising God, “in a loud voice” seems clear. He wanted to. He chose to. He was aware of what had been done for him and he was aware it was a gift of God. He then said to himself, I have to go back and thank Jesus for this!
Thanksgiving is a choice. Nine chose not to return. One chose to go back to the source of the blessings and with a thankful heart and a loud voice, praise God.
We should do the same. Chose to be thankful on this good day.