It is funny how some things stick in our brains forever and others flee like a bird. I have never forgotten the statement of my good friend and Christian brother Kenny Gilbreath, who related the phrase his uncle always prayed in every prayer, “Lord, give me a grateful heart.” I have often thought about that phrase and the profound meaning of it.
In our computer age, we are well familiar with a “default setting” where your program will always revert to that setting. I think we all need to set our hearts on the default setting of having a “grateful heart” towards God.
As I have gotten older, I have learned not to bemoan some of the things I can’t do as well and be thankful for the things I can do. I will never run in a race, but I am thankful that I can still walk well. My feet are sometimes sore, but it is more on the side of a slight discomfort rather than a pain—I am thankful I can still go on an enjoyable hike.
Jennie and I have lived in the same house for forty years. We have made some modest improvements over the years and have a few needed upgrades, but I am thankful for the modest home we have. There are many much newer and bigger, but I am so thankful for a paid-for and comfortable house. I am also thankful for a wife who has exercised good stewardship of our finances that has made it so.
We are thankful for the prosperity and health of our family-clan. My prayer list is filled with young and old who are dealing with many health and life issues. One aspect of having a grateful heart is being thankful not prideful. When we see our situation better than someone else’s, we should be grateful for our blessings while being compassionate toward those not so fortunate. It is well with us only by God’s grace and mercy.
I can still hear another thread of wisdom that has been woven into the fabric of my memory from long-gone-saints of my childhood, “When I think about my problems, I can always look around and see someone ‘worse-off’ than myself.” Yes, and amen. When I see and understand this, my gratefulness default kicks in. My spontaneous prayer, “Thank you Jesus! Please help them Jesus!”
So, as we prepare our Thanksgiving Day celebrations and pray a blessing over our turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, green beans, and pecan pie; remember to ask God for a “grateful heart”.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;/ and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV [bold emphasis mine]).
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Yours on the Journey with a Grateful Heart,
Harry L. Whitt