Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!" Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for He comes to judge the earth. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:31-34
Today, America stops to count its blessings.
Actually, I ought to say today is the day when most Americans count their blessings. I say most, because, according to a new study done by LifeWay Research, there are those who just don't do a lot of thanking. Instead, their survey said that seven percent of Americans don't offer up any thanks on Thanksgiving Day. Another four percent said they don't thank God, or family, or anybody else, for that matter. Two percent said they have nothing for which to be thankful.
I'll bet they're a lot of fun to have at the holiday table.
That being said, the giving of thanks remains important to the vast majority of our people and, even though the Lord has been insulted by society and shoved to the side by various groups, most of us still give thanks to our God for all He has done for us.
Now that doesn't mean we're all thankful for the same thing. We're not.
For example, if you are 65 or older, you are most likely thankful for family (92 percent) and good health (86 percent). A lot lower on your list would be things like "fun experiences."
On the other hand, if you are 25 or younger, you are likely to really value those fun experiences (70 percent) and your own personal achievements (61 percent).
This may lead Daily Devotioners to ask, "Is there any common place where age groups come together and show an appreciative attitude?"
The answer is yes. No, it's not in offering thanks for money or a good job. Nor do most folks wish to show their gratitude for friends and a comfortable home.
That which brings together young and old, rich and poor, educated and self-taught is -- can you guess -- it's family. It is in our families that we do our best and most frequent arguing, but it is also in our families that we find love, understanding and compassion. Maybe that explains why 80 percent of people put "family" at the top of their list.
Following up were things like health (77 percent), personal freedom (72 percent), and friends (71 percent).
Now I know you just have to be dying to find out what was at the bottom of people's lists for appreciation. Well, it's not what I would have thought. No, occupying the lowest spot is wealth.
Now I don't know how you would have answered those pollsters if they had called you. But I most certainly pray you would have insisted they put "My Savior" into their list. Truly, if you have the Savior and all the blessings His sacrificial life has won, you have everything you need. Without Him, well, without Him, the other blessings, while still wonderful, somehow don't shine as bright.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may every day of my life be filled with thanks for my Savior. In His Name. Amen.
P.S. - Nobody at Lutheran Hour Ministries asked me to do this, but I was so impressed by what I've seen I'm doing it on my own. Lutheran Hour Ministries is offering a virtual mission trip to Madagascar in January. You can get a glimpse into what the program is all about by following the link: www.lhm.org/onlinemissiontrips.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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