Friday, November 23, 2018
Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Welcome to Black Friday. Shoppers all over the nation spent at least part of their Thanksgiving sitting with family members browsing store advertising, highlighting wanted items, cutting coupons, and planning a shopping strategy that will hopefully provide the best opportunity to achieve maximum shopping success. For many, today is the day that determines the quality of their Christmas celebration. Unfortunately, today is also the day that exposes the lack of quality in their character. Black Friday is appropriately named, because all the light of a thankful heart can easily get extinguished.
I thank God that getting any gift for the lowest possible price has nothing to do with the value of my life. I also thank God that the outcome of my shopping experience has no effect on the outcome of my faith.
So far this week, in our study of Thanksgiving, we learned about the attitude of gratitude, and the activity of being thankful for what God has done, what God is doing in our lives, and what God is doing in the lives of others. Today we conclude with thoughts about being thankful for what God is going to do.
Prayer is the place where we discover what God is going to do, and we are encouraged to engage in prayer with an attitude of Thanksgiving. There are two reasons for this. First, praying with thanksgiving demonstrates trust and confidence in God’s perfect plan even before we hear it. And second, praying with a thankful heart protects our attitudes when we don’t get the answer we expected.
Do you remember the two acrostics God gave us for the words TRUST and THANKS?
TRUST – Totally Relying Upon Sovereign Timing
THANKS – Trusting His Attributes Not Knowing Specifics
When viewed in the context of Black Friday, these two statements seem illogical. Which of you would thankfully get in your car this morning at 10:00 AM and drive to your favorite store without a shopping list, relying only on good timing? We would probably find you grumbling and complaining while stuck in a traffic jam, unable to find a parking place and frustrated that you didn’t get what you wanted.
Yet with God, we have a permanent parking place called prayer, where we can trust His timing to provide us with everything He knows we need, and we can be thankful even when we don’t get it because we can depend on His love and goodness towards us.
When we pray, we get to see life from the highest perspective – God’s. That makes us confident. That brings us joy. That gives us a deep and abiding sense of security and value.
Continue steadfastly in prayer but be careful to do it with thanksgiving that comes from a heart of trust in God. Show God your shopping list, but be thankful that His list is better, and trust that His gifts will arrive right on time.