One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is because it asks us to stop and enumerate everything we’re thankful for. At its best, it’s a day of love and goodwill that changes attitudes in a way that few other holidays can. Likewise, one of the reasons I love celebrating communion at church is because it humbles me by reminding me of my place in my relationship with God. Humility and thankfulness, for me at least, require regular practice. If I don’t practice them I tend to slip into a selfish pride that does nothing but damage my thought life and my relationships.
In the following devotional from Delve into Jesus, Michael Lane discusses how we don’t just magically become humble and thankful. Both are postures we have to commit to in our daily lives:
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not certain how to make myself become humble or to force myself to feel thankful. If I were to attempt it and fail, then I might be inclined to shrug my shoulders and give up in despair. But no, we are commanded to do, not to be. Fortunately, I do know how to humble myself and how to give thanks, so I can concern myself with doing something tangible, instead of trying to be something intangible.
Though we may not succeed in becoming humble and thankful by striving for that directly, by humbling ourselves, we will become humble and by giving thanks, we will become thankful.
Every day, there are terrific opportunities to humble ourselves which we may overlook. It’s a choice we have to consciously make whenever we feel that we may not be getting our due. When we discover that a co-worker has been promoted to the position we felt we deserved, then we can choose to compliment and congratulate them or we can choose a bitter and resentful reaction. When you volunteer for an event at your church and all that remains is the job of cleaning up, then you have a choice to make. Will you walk away in disgust because that job is beneath your talent, or will you gratefully accept the task and complete it without grumbling? Humbling ourselves is as simple as making the decision to suppress our pride whenever it rears its ugly head. The more we do this, the easier and more natural it will become until, at long last, we will be humble.
Giving thanks is likewise a conscious decision we need to make daily. As part of our regular prayer time, we need to get on our knees – metaphorically and literally – and thank God for the abundant and rich blessings in our life. We should list all of our blessings – our home, a warm meal, the love of friends and family and most importantly, our salvation – and take a moment to truly appreciate each of them. In time, we will evolve from someone who gives thanks to someone who is truly thankful.
Do you find it hard to be humble or thankful?