A man bought a talking parrot that had once been a bar owner’s pet. Sitting in that bar every night, the bird had learned some, shall we say, interesting words. More than once it embarrassed its new owner by squawking out some cuss word in the presence of company. So the man decided to teach the bird a lesson by letting it spend ten minutes in his deep freezer. When he finally retrieved the chilled bird, he looked at it and said, “Now I don’t want to hear any more bad words out of you. Do you understand?” The bird squawked, “Yes. But I’ve just got to ask, What in the world did that turkey say?”
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day, that day marked by turkeys, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, family get-togethers, a Macy’s parade, football games, and all the rest of it. (Unfortunately, more and more it’s also now being marked by Christmas shopping as well, but don’t me started on that.) But will the day be marked by your thankfulness? Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it?
It strikes me that perspective is one of the secrets to be truly thankful. For example, if you’ve been grumbling because you haven’t been able to buy yourself a new pair of shoes in a while, consider a story from the life of noted gospel singer Charles M. Alexander. Traveling was a major part of Alexander’s life, as he was frequently a featured singer for the preaching tours of the likes of R.A. Torrey and John Wilber Chapman. One day an impoverished little fellow named Sam was helping Alexander pack his suitcase. The boy said, “Mister Charlie, would you have any old clothes you ain’t makin’ use of?” Since Alexander’s clothes were obviously too big for the boy, Alexander moved on to the subject of shoes. He said, “Well, Sam, what about shoes? What size do you wear?” Sam answered, “That mostly ‘pends on who gives ’em. Sometimes I wear sixes and sometimes I wear elevens.” Remember that story tomorrow and be thankful for your shoes!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 is a very well known passage. It says:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
You’ll note that even though that is quite a list of sinful conduct, the word “unthankful” is right there on it. As a matter of fact, the word begins the list of the “un” words: unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving. I’ve heard many sermons from this passage, all painting the picture that we surely are living in the “last days.” As preachers like to say of such passages, “Reading these words is like reading the headlines of this morning’s newspaper.” Well, if that’s the case (and I certainly don’t disagree with the assertion), surely an attitude of unthankfulness abounds these days.
But let it not be so with you. Never forget that whatever is authentically “good” in your life, comes from God. As James 1:17 says:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights….
Psalm 136:1 can be placed right alongside that verse. It says:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!….
So tomorrow I want you to make a special point of being thankful to God for all the good gifts with which He has blessed you. Better yet, why don’t you just go ahead and get a head start on tomorrow by being thankful today? Even better still, why don’t you just start being thankful right now and never stop? Do your best to live out the words that David wrote in Psalm 30:12:
…O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.