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Pastor's Column

Why be thankful?

  “We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven.

   We have been preserved in peace and prosperity.

   We have grown in numbers, wealth and power.”

  Who made these three positive pronouncements?

  Abraham Lincoln.

  Then, in his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation, he added these three serious warnings:  “We have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and strengthened us.  We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom of our own.  Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

  Does Lincoln’s warning sound up to date?

  If so, maybe its time to consider this beloved president’s warning today.

  God doesn’t need our thanks, but we need to be thankful.

  Paul, the apostle, later drew a similar conclusion concerning another group of people who had reached the pinnacle of success but then were plunged to destruction.  He described their tragic fall as follows: ‘When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22).

  In Lincoln’s words, they became “too self-sufficient to feel the need of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

  Thankfulness makes us ever conscious of God’s love, grace and provision.  This keeps us aware of His presence and makes a difference in how we live.  People who are constantly thanking God for His blessings and love want to please Him every day; rejecting attitudes and actions that grieve Him.

  An attitude of gratitude to God for daily blessings changes our dispositions.  Thankful people make better husbands, wives, parents, friends and citizens.

  We cannot be angry and thankful at the same time.

  We cannot be both grateful and grumpy.

  It is impossible to praise and pout simultaneously.

  When I visited my friend, Frank, in the hospital, I read a few verses from Psalm 103 to him.  This Psalm is David’s great song of thanksgiving in which he reminds himself of the importance of giving thanks for daily blessings.

  I had no idea of how those few words about being thankful would change Frank’s life.  What I had considered to be just a friendly hospital call was far more than that to him.

  Weeks later, I heard Frank tell a group of men that while I was reading those words about not forgetting to be thankful, he had placed his faith in the One to whom all our thanks are due.

  Have you?  If not, this is the perfect month to launch a new attitude of gratitude and see how it changes your life.

  Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.  A new book containing over one hundred of his best columns, 𠇎verywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller.  Contact us at




(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News