To cultivate something of value, you often must get your hands dirty. Hard work of digging, pruning, watering and weed pulling all are building blocks to cultivation. I have fond memories of walking behind my grandmother as we hunted our way through her incredible garden. She plucked weeds, and I ate the spoils of her hard work. I remember her dirty work gloves and small spade she carried in her hand. She cared for each plant and loved every second of it.
When I think of cultivation, those images come to mind. Maybe you have other memories of cultivating some plant? Until this week, I have not thought of my attitude of thankfulness being something that must be cultivated? Really? Does God ask me or even command me to develop a heart of thankfulness in the same way I would cultivate a raspberry bush or carrot patch? The answer is a resounding YES!
Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness is more than a good idea; it’s a direct command from God. It takes work and discipline to focus our lives on the good and turn our eyes from the areas that discourage or distract from God. Whether studying the Old or New Testament, God calls us to being thankful. In the New Testament, believers are instructed to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Sometimes being thankful can be difficult when we are facing trials. It’s like trying to cultivate a garden with harsh weather or pesky weeds. It’s in those circumstances of life we are called to cultivate, not give up. God knows that when we focus on our blessings, it’s easier to keep our problems and concerns in the right perspective.
Historically, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for giving thanks to God for the many blessings He has given to us. This week I would challenge each of you, as the Word of God has challenged me, to cultivate thankfulness. Dig into the dirt and prune out any weeds of selfishness or ungrateful words. Water the healthy things in your life. Do this by trying some of these ideas:
- Actually list out your blessings. Share them at the dinner table with your family.
- Think about all that God has specifically provided for you.
- Talk about a prayer request God answered in the last year.
- Meditate on Scripture about being thankful.