To be honest, I had never heard the word “thanks-living” before this past week, when I read a poem a friend sent me. (The poem is listed below for you to read.) The meaning behind it however is something that we as Christians have long understood. In Colossians 2:6-7, we read “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
This overflowing of thankfulness is the spirit of thanks-living. The acts of service, words of kindness, and gifts given in humility that flow out of our faith are exactly what Peterson means as acts of thanks-living. As God’s people we are given the incredible gifts of faith, forgiveness, and new life both on earth and in heaven because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And when we embrace those gifts and live our lives mindful of them, we can’t help but live a life overflowing with acts of thanks-living.
As we gather with friends and family this week to celebrate the many gifts that God has given to each of us, I pray that we are reminded that as God’s children we are called to live out our thanksgiving to God through acts of thanks-living to those around us. Let these acts serve to point others to the source of our thanksgiving, Jesus Christ. Happy Thanksgiving!
The Art of Thanksgiving by Wilferd A. Peterson
The art of thanksgiving is thanks-living. It is gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy: ‘In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for other life.’
It is thanking God for the gift of life
by living it triumphantly.
It is thanking God for your talents and abilities
by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good.
It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you
by doing things for others.
It is thanking God for opportunities
by accepting them as a challenge to achievement.
It is thanking God for happiness
by striving to make others happy.
It is thanking God for beauty
by helping to make the world more beautiful.
It is thanking God for inspiration
by trying to be an inspiration to others.
It is thanking God for health and strength
by the care and reverence you show your body.
It is thanking God for the creative ideas that enrich life
by adding your own creative contributions to human progress.
It is thanking God for each new day
by living it to the fullest.
It is thanking God
by giving hands, arms, legs, and voice to your thankful spirit.
It is adding to your prayers of thanksgiving, acts of thanks-living.