Give Thanks, but to Whom?
I just finished reading an interesting article in today’s edition of USA Today (November 27, 2015). It was titled, “Be thankful for what many don’t have” and was written by Alan Gomez. Continue reading . . .
I just finished reading an interesting article in today’s edition of USA Today (November 27, 2015). It was titled, “Be thankful for what many don’t have” and was written by Alan Gomez.
Gomez reminds us of the incredible blessings we have merely by living in the United States: “There has never been a more appropriate time to be thankful for what so many is a luxury.” He’s right. He then mentions that nearly 60 million people around the world are on the run, fleeing wars and persecution while we sit with friends and family in warm homes eating until we literally can’t eat anymore.
He acknowledges that things are far from perfect in the U.S., and proceeds to mention a few of the problems we face here at home. “Yet no matter how bad things may seem, it could be far worse.” For example,
“You could be living in the largest refugee camp in the world, a massive complex around Dadaab, Kenya, where more than 320,000 refugees have settled after fleeing the decades-long civil war in Somalia and famine throughout eastern Africa.”
“You could be one of millions of Syrians fleeing their country’s devastating civil war, making life-threatening journeys across the Mediterranean only to find you’re not welcome in many European countries – or in the USA – because of fears that terrorists are in your midst.”
“You could be running from gang violence fueled by drug cartels in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that has been so severe that those three countries rank in the top six of the world’s highest homicide rates.”
“You could be a Ukrainian fleeing the war that rages in the eastern half of the country. You could be running from the wars tearing apart South Sudan, Libya or Yemen. You could be fleeing terrorism fueled by the extremist group Boko Haram in and around Nigeria.”
Gomez lists about another half dozen horrific scenarios from which we have been mercifully spared. And there are countless other atrocities and sub-human living conditions that we likely will never experience or even see. We should be thankful. And Gomez is right in that.
But nowhere in the article does Gomez ever mention to whom we should be thankful. Does he attribute our lives here in the U.S. to mere “good luck”? Is it simply that the odds turned in our favor? Was it mere happenstance that we have the lives we now live? Do we attribute what we currently experience to our own ingenuity and hard work and intelligence, or to that of our ancestors?
Even should the conditions in the U.S. be partially due to the diligence and sacrifice made on the part of countless individuals, both in the past and present, to what or whom do we attribute their insights and strength and resolve and courage? Is there nothing or no one above our own selves to whom we give thanks?
I don’t know Gomez personally. I have no idea if he is a Christian. Perhaps he is and the editors of USA Today simply wouldn’t permit him to give thanks to God. But I labor under no such restrictions, and even for that I am indescribably grateful . . . to God!
Someone once said that perhaps the greatest anguish among atheists is the feeling of gratitude but with no one to thank! I have Someone to thank! I thank and praise and give all glory to God for life and liberty and food and football and a home and a fireplace and a family and everything else that I so often sinfully take for granted.
I’m grateful to God for Alan Gomez and his encouragement that we pause and think about all for which we should be thankful. And as I reflect on the many things he mentions, and the countless blessings that he didn’t, I thank God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And above all the material, physical, social, and financial blessings that I enjoy in this life, I thank God most for the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, and the promise of unending bliss in beholding his beauty in a crime-free, sin-free, death-free New Heavens and New Earth.
Please join me, then, in giving thanks . . . to God!