Are you giving thanks, or living thanks?


The day before Thanksgiving, an elderly gentleman in Phoenix called his son in New York and said, “Son, I hate to ruin your day, but I have some news for you. Your mother and I are divorcing. Forty-five years of misery is enough, so call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”

Frantic, the son called his sister, told her the news, and she exploded on the phone: “Getting a divorce? What are they thinking? I’ll take care of this right now!”

So she hung up and called her parents. “Dad,” she said, “you are not getting a divorce. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling John back and we’ll both be there in the morning. Until then, don’t do anything. Do you hear me?”

They hung up, and the dad turned to his wife and said, “Well, honey, I got the kids to come for Thanksgiving, and they’re paying their way!”

I Thessalonians 5:18 reads, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Failing to give thanks is disobedience, and the ultimate in presumption. God calls His people to be thankful people, but too often, we take our blessings for granted. That’s why Thanksgiving Day is a timely holiday that prompts us to pause and take stock of our blessings.

We can give thanks one day a year, or we can live out thanks 365 days a year. Do you observe Thanksgiving, or thanks-living? The grateful life focuses on God daily and lives with gratitude constantly. The grateful person realizes that he has been given far more than he deserves, and is thankful for what he has instead of complaining about what he doesn’t have.

For what are you thankful this year? I’m thankful for:

• A wonderful God who loves me. In Philippians 1:3, Paul wrote, “I thank my God . . .” So do I.

• A Savior who died for me.

• A talented, beautiful, awesome wife and 31 years of marriage.

• Kids who still call and say, “Daddy, we’re home” and the quick prayer thanking God for their safe journey.

• My wife’s pumpkin bread and her delicious potato rolls.

• My mom’s peanut butter cake.

• Strong legs and a healthy heart that allowed me to run another Peachtree Road Race and my first 15K this year.

• The Braves’ improvement.

• The Bulldogs crushing Auburn. What a game!

• The world’s most beautiful granddaughter, who is now seven-months-old.

• My mom’s carrot salad.

• A good report for a pastor friend who’s been battling serious health issues this year.

• God’s provision in every way.

• A pan of hot, homemade-from-scratch brownies right out of the oven.

• A warm bed and a roof over my head.

• A dependable car.

• Bumping into college buddies who say, “You look just the same.”

• Dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses.

William Law, in his book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, wrote, “Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives the most alms, or is more eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God . . .”

Psalm 106:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” What’s on your blessing list?


Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at