As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are given an opportunity to stop and reflect on what we are grateful for. It is, perhaps, something we do not do often enough. It seems to be so easy for us humans to focus on what we lack, on what seems missing from our lives. An attitude of scarcity seems to be easy for us to slip in to.
This was driven home to me several years ago by a man from Africa. He was in charge of a program that the church I was serving at the time was supporting, teaching people in Kenya to read. He was a native of Kenya, and had managed to acquire a good education. He saw what he was doing as a ministry, because if people could read, then they could read the Bible. Of course, he also recognized that by teaching people to read, he was opening up doors to new opportunities. He came to the US to visit some of the churches that supported his work, and so our church and another church in town hosted his visit. The weekend he happened to be visiting was the weekend of the annual community yard sale for the rather upscale subdivision in which our church was located. He explored our neighborhood, looking at all the things that people were selling that they didn’t want or need anymore. On that Sunday morning, he gave the sermon for us. The one thing I remember from his remarks is a question he asked all of us. As he looked at the content of people’s yard sales, he said, and as he admired all the wonderful paved roads we had to drive on, he became curious about one thing: “How do you know when you have enough?”
That question has remained with me all these years. I can just as easily slip into an attitude of scarcity as the next person, and like most of us, it can be easy for me to focus on what I seem to lack in my life. But every once in a while that African man’s question arises in my mind, and I realize that I do have enough — more than enough — to be happy and secure in my life. And when I realize that, I am able to be grateful.
I hope this Thanksgiving becomes an opportunity for you to see where your abundance lies. I hope that whatever you may be struggling with in your life, Thanksgiving might become an opportunity for you to discover what there is in your life to be grateful for. And I invite you to share that gratitude here, by leaving a comment to this post.
I will begin: I am grateful for my family, for the opportunities I have in the work I have been given to do, and for the community that surrounds me as I try to do it. There’s more I am grateful for: the roof over my head, the food on my table, the clothes on my back….the list could go on. But that’s a good start.
May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. What are you grateful for?