I was one of those teenagers who went to every youth event (probably to the chagrin of my student minister). So I was there one Sunday night in November when our student minister pulled out the requisite activity every church group does in November: we went around the room and each person told what he or she was thankful for.
And as is true in every group, the 25-30 of us gave the requisite answers:
- I am thankful for my family.
- I am thankful for Jesus.
- I am thankful for my youth group.
- I am thankful for my salvation.
- I am thankful for Donny Osmond. (It was 1974.)
And then Clifford spoke.
Clifford was one of my best friends in high school. We did not attend the same church, but he came with me that night. And as the focus moved to our part of the circle, Clifford simply said:
“I am thankful I am not a moose.”
Clifford’s response changed the way I view Thanksgiving. (It also explains why Clifford was one of my friends and has remained so all these years.)
Over time, I’ve come to see Clifford’s silly response from a different angle. We are thankful for what we see, for what God has placed in our lives. And we should be. But we should be equally thankful for the things we don’t see in our lives.
We don’t see things like these because God, in His sheer grace, kept them from us.
Join me in approaching this season of Thanksgiving with a different attitude. Yes, be thankful for the things you see, but be equally thankful for the things you don’t see.
“Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance” (Ps. 32:6-7).
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I used to do this exercise with my students offering them an extra 100 for a daily grade.
One year a young man from Leuders listed the following in this order:
I am thankful for
May be one of the most honest answers I’ve ever gotten.