What is the key to thankfulness? I actually think there is a key — something that enables us to be thankful regardless of our circumstances. We often talk about being thankful and, especially this time of year, we often attempt to list things that we are thankful for. Certainly these are good practices, but perhaps we need to take a step back and truly understand a key contributing factor to our being truly thankful.
I have come to believe that thankfulness will never be a reality in our lives without one key thing – PERSPECTIVE. Why? Here are three reasons.
1- Perspective helps you take your eyes off yourself.
It is so easy to be so focused on our needs, our burdens, our pain, our difficulties, and our busyness that we neglect others. When this happens thankfulness begins to disappear. Perspective means keeping my eyes up. As Paul says in Philippians 2, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This kind of perspective will increase your thankfulness.
2- Perspective helps you look beyond the immediate to the eternal.
I don’t know about you, but I often get bogged down in the here-and-now. It is natural to get consumed with the temporal and forget about the eternal. Keeping an eternal perspective means that we look at what is taking place today in light of eternity.
When you have an eternal perspective, how you view everything in life begins to change. Thankfulness increases because you are viewing everything in light of eternity.
3- Perspective helps you understand the role of pain and suffering in God’s eternal plan.
Far too often pain and suffering robs us of our joy and our thankfulness. As a Christian, we must understand that God has a plan for our pain and suffering. We must know that God can and will use our pain and suffering to further our growth as well as his kingdom. Without perspective we will fail to see this reality. It is only when we have a biblical perspective that we will be thankful in the midst of pain and suffering.
I encourage you to take a step back and gain some perspective this Thanksgiving. It is that perspective that will drive your thankfulness.