The Privileged Life: A Thankful Heart

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4

My all-time favorite Veggie Tales show is “Madame Blueberry” (if for nothing else, the cheeseburger love song by Mr. Lunt sandwiched halfway through it). In this episode, Madame Blueberry faces a crisis of faith in materialism and finds temporary salvation during a shopping extravaganza at Stuffmart.

But the sight of a family sharing a single piece of pie leads her to a different conclusion…that a “thankful heart is a happy heart.” Madame Blueberry learns the lesson that honest thanksgiving, even for very little in earthly wealth, is what brings true joy in life.

It’s ironic that Thanksgiving has become the jumping-off point for Christmas shopping. Black Friday specials abound, now leaking into Thanksgiving Day (oh, enough of that turkey and dressing…let’s go stuff our cars now with more stuff!) and the week ahead. 

At the very moment we celebrate the virtue of thankfulness—for God’s provisions of the necessities of life, for His abundant goodness in giving us families and friends, for the freedoms we enjoy here in America—we turn immediately away from these blessings and strike out to unload our hard-earned money on more plastic, electronics, clothing, and whatever else suits our fancy. We go from humble appreciation of all that is good in our lives to the polar opposite: “unbridled avarice,” akin to what Ralphie described while opening presents in the movie, “A Christmas Story.”

What will be your experience this Thanksgiving? When the turkey carcass is picked clean for leftovers…when family members start to get on your nerves a bit…when you can’t pop another bite of pumpkin pie in your mouth…will you still be thankful?

Cultivating a spirit of gratitude is the entire reason I began this weekly blog earlier this year and called it “The Privileged Life.” We have so many daily privileges to enjoy, so many things we take for granted (until, of course, we are deprived of them)—every single day should be Thanksgiving. When we look horizontally at the blessings around us, we should consequently look up the great Provider who put them within our reach.

I write on this subject as an exercise in gratitude, designed as much for me as for you. Each day brings a “wow” moment in realization that everything we receive, already have, or anticipate getting is from the Lord. If we make a concerted effort to thank Him every day, we gain a new appreciation for everything we have. And, our desire to acquire more is lessened.

Take time this weekend to be truly grateful. Spend a moment in prayer alone, away from the crowded table, to share your thanksgiving with the One who inspired this holiday in the first place with the Pilgrims. Write Him a thank-You note. Sign it with love…and be thankful!

Loving and providing Father, thank You so much for the sweet privileges we enjoy all the time—the most wonderful being our relationship with You through Jesus Christ. Thank You for Your love, Your presence, the daily bread You give us, and Your salvation. Remind us to thank You more often. With a heart of love and thankfulness, Amen.

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My talented family–husband Mark, brother Jim, nephew-in-law Andrew–entertaining us with a little after-dinner pickin’ and grinnin’ on the banjo, bass, and guitar
Last year’s turkey strutting his stuff after a lingering bath in a deep-fat fryer

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