Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Immediacy of Giving Thanks

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)

St. Paul did not equivocate when it came to being thankful. But how can we be thankful in all circumstances? How can we be joyful? Are not my feelings beyond my control? Think of the last time someone pulled out in front of you in traffic? How can I be thankful if I have just been laid off from work? I have a family to feed, bills to pay, etc. These are big picture items that consume much of our lives. But we get lost in the big picture because we do not know where we are to begin with.

Where we are at this very present moment is where we are. The past has happened and we must let go of any regrets. The future has yet to come and so there is no need to be anxious. Jesus said this to us in His Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 6:34) But the truth of His Word needs to be experienced. This journey begins with the immediate NOW! This is where God is and where we must be to be covered by His Word!

Find a quiet place so that you may "be still and know the Lord". (Psalm 46:10) Take a simple object into your hand or look upon something like a flower. It can be something mundane like a coffee cup. Focus on the coffee cup. Feel the texture. How does it feel? Look at the design. How would you describe the design? Be slow and deliberate. Now think of the journey that coffee cup made from the designers to the engineers to the marketplace all the way into your hands now! Do not gloss over any detail. Now speak to God in Heaven giving thanks for all these things that make up the mundane coffee cup. Identify the joy that you find in this coffee cup. Thank God again for what He has shown you to be thankful in this very moment. You will notice the past was of no consequence in this moment and there was so much presence in the coffee cup that tomorrow had no demand on you. Practice this exercise daily and several times a day wherever you are. By doing so you will catch up to God where He is, in the present moment. For it is this moment, the present, that is the only circumstance at hand! Everything else will become inconsequential!