The Thanksgiving season is a time of giving thanks. We have so many reasons to acknowledge the blessings that God has given. It requires a grateful heart; a heart that is open and aware of the mercies that freely have been given to us. For the Word is clear, “Morning by morning new mercies are ours to see”. I would argue strongly that if we are not careful, we will miss out on this time of giving God thanks, for there is so much chaos in this world of ours. This chaos is seen every day, throughout the world, our nation and in our communities. One may well ask the question, “what do I have to be grateful for?” In no way do I want to give the impression of being self-righteous or judgmental, for I agree, racism, classism, and sexism is painful. In my humble opinion this president, Donald Trump, has created so much pain with his ungodly comments, words, and actions, as well as his supporting bigotry, and hatred; and on the other hand, so much violence. Just a few weeks ago in one weekend in our city, we saw a young child killed, and another critically wounded.

As I write this, so many other crimes and acts of violence have been committed. The list can go on and on, but by the grace of God, He has allowed us to see another Thanksgiving. We can say like the songwriter, “all of my good days out-weigh my bad days, and I will not complain, God has been good to me”. In fact, God is good. In spite of all the things that are taking place in the world today, we can still open up our heart and express our gratitude to God. It is important for us not to dwell on the negativity but rather focus on that which is positive; life, family, friends, health, and food to eat. Our gratitude to God can also be expressed by helping others, and by helping someone who may not have food to eat. There are countless people who are waiting for someone to offer a helping hand.

Gratitude of the heart is not only thanking God but offering yourself to others. I remember these words that were conveyed to me as a young man, “there is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes their way alone, what you give to the life of others comes back unto your own”. Let this Thanksgiving be one by which you express your gratitude to God by blessing others. Have a heart that really cares, that really shares, and that really loves. That’s what a grateful heart will do. That’s the kind of love God has for us, and he wants us to offer that same love to others.

Thanksgiving 2019 can really be one by which you offer to God genuine thanks. You may not have all you desire, but the mere fact that you are able to breathe is a blessing. Open up your heart and let the love of God flow. A poet once said, “It doesn’t matter how much you have, but how much you have shared with others”. Those words are deep and profound. Somebody needs to be encouraged and somebody needs a helping hand. I am grateful to God for what He has done for me, and I know that I’m not alone. At a recent family dinner, I as usual, asked one of my sons to pray. His prayer touched my heart for he spoke about gratitude. I believe with all my heart that as parents we have a responsibility to teach our children the importance of giving back and expressing gratitude to God. I would argue strongly we have too many selfish people in this world. It’s never about us, it’s always about somebody else. Not only were the words of the poet true, but a songwriter echoes the same thought when he wrote, “If I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not be in vain”. Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God without any recognition. Your life will be better, God will get the glory, and you will discover the real blessings of a grateful heart.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinions on phillytrib.com.

The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House.

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