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Thankfulness (Lessons from a 5 Year Old)

happy boy

Coby, you have to be thankful,” is the line of conversation between my two grandsons that caught my attention. I listened as Domonic, the 5 year old, was attempting to teach his 3 year old brother a profound life lesson.

They were negotiating who should play with which toy. Domonic’s plan was to use the “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo” rhyme to determine who should get the more desirable one. But before he used this as the solution to their disagreement, he coached his little brother, saying, “Coby, if you get the larger toy you have to be thankful. No complaining. You have to say thank you. If you get the smaller toy you have to be thankful. No complaining. You have to say thank you.”  However well-meaning Domonic was, Coby did not appreciate the wisdom offered by his brother that day, but maintained, “I want this one.”

God has some similar advice for us. In fact, it is a command. In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul urges his readers, “Be thankful in all circumstances.” Thankful words come easily in the moments when we get what we want.   It is a little more challenging in the difficult moments to respond with gratitude.

Being thankful in all situations is a step of faith. It is choosing to believe, in spite of the circumstances we’re facing, that God is wise, loving and has a good plan for us. When I make an attitude adjustment and choose to say “thank you” in the difficult moments, it moves my focus from one of complaining, at least in my heart, to anticipation of what God will do and how the circumstances will fit into God’s bigger plan.

“And we know that all thing work together for good to those who love God and are called for his purpose.”     Romans 8:28

by Mike Woodard

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