A String and a Magnet

A photo of a string and a magnet for John Ed Mathison's blog "A String and a Magnet"


Thanksgiving is more than a day on the calendar—it’s a way to live every day. It should create in each of us a daily attitude of gratitude. God uses a thankful heart to mold us into the person he can use most effectively. Billy Graham said, “A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord.”

Each day we can march through life with a selfish attitude and complain about the challenges we face, or we can live each day thanking God for the good things he has done for us. Charles Spurgeon said, “Too often we write our blessings in the sand, but we engrave our troubles in the marble.” The choice is yours!

Everybody wants to be happy. It’s not happy people who are thankful—its thankful people who are happy! Gratitude can turn whatever we have into enough! (Tweet this!)

A science professor one day gave his students a very unusual assignment. He gave each student a piece of string about two feet long. He then sent them out to the campus with this instruction, “Take this piece of string and make a circle on the ground with it somewhere on the campus.” Then he told them that he wanted them to sit down for at least two hours and concentrate intently on what’s inside that circle. He wanted them to notice everything that was there. They would see textures, colors, shapes, and forms. They would see many different forms of life. Then he said, “After two hours I want you to write an essay about what you saw, and the essay must be at least eight pages long!”

You might think you can’t see much in a two-foot circle. He taught the students to see things that they would not normally see. I think God’s instruction to us today is to put a mental string around our lives, look carefully to see our blessings, then write eight pages of things for which we are grateful. Will you do that?

God is so good. For every one negative thing that we have to face; we can look carefully and find at least ten things for which we can be grateful. Paul wrote, “Always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:18)

Oliver Wendell Holmes taught a great lesson. He said, “If you should give me a dish of sand and tell me that there are particles of iron in it, I might look with my eyes for them, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to find them. But let me take a magnet and sweep it, then the magnet would draw to itself the most invisible particles by the power of attraction.”

He went on to apply this by saying, “The unthankful heart, like my fingers in the sand, discovers no mercies. The thankful heart sweeps through the day and just as the magnet finds the iron, it will find in every hour some heavenly blessings.”

Wake up every morning with your magnet of gratitude to sweep through all the moments of the day. Be alert and open to the good things that God has given you. Develop a daily attitude of gratitude.

God has a string and a magnet with your name on it!

The Latest Word — Weekly Blog

Satisfying Your Soul's Thirst For More — Books & Devotionals

Timeless Truths For Turbulent TImes
Got A Minute?
John Ed's book "Quotient Quizzes: What's Your Score?"
Read More

Check out our Weekly Blog or you can sign up for our Daily Devotional email.


Tune-in to our Daily 1-Minute Radio Message to begin your day!


Don't miss our Weekly Video Message from John Ed on "Got A Minute".