Reverse Thanksgiving

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Thanksgiving can be a tough day to celebrate with integrity because we are a people who have so much.  The more we have, the more difficult it is to express adequately our thanks for what we do have.  The general tendency is not to really appreciate what we have, but complain about what we don’t have.

Somewhere I heard the term “reverse Thanksgiving.”  It is a time when we give thanks in a reverse perspective.  Instead of thanking God for the things we do have, why not thank Him for the things that we don’t have.  That idea intrigued me so I thought I would focus this Thanksgiving season thanking God for some things I don’t have.  I will share a few.  Your list would be different, but could be meaningful.

I am thankful I don’t have a bad job that I hate to go to each day.  I hear some people talk about how much they hate to get up in the morning and go to work.  They look forward to Friday afternoon when they get a bit of a respite before they have to start again on Monday morning.  I love getting up every day and going to work.  I am engaged in a meaningful ministry that is making a difference in Kingdom things.  I am thankful that I don’t have a bad job.

I am thankful that I don’t have poor health.  God blessed me with some wonderful parents who passed on some good genes to me.  I have never been sick very much in my life.  I am thankful that I don’t have poor health.

I am thankful that I don’t have a propensity for gaining weight.  I have always exercised a lot, and nobody enjoys eating more than I.  My good friend Bobby Jack Armstrong had throat cancer and could not eat.  He asked me and a couple of friends to go out to eat with him.  I told him I felt guilty about that but he said, “John Ed I can’t eat but I like to see somebody eat, and I have never seen anybody that enjoyed eating more than you!”  I could make Bobby happy in that respect.

I am thankful that I don’t have a wife who is negative, nagging, unreasonable, or uninvolved in the Christian faith.  I am blessed to be married to a wonderful woman who is thoughtful, industrious, and always ready to help someone in need.

I am thankful I don’t have a family that is “out in the far country.”  I have a lot of friends who spend sleepless nights worrying about extended members of their family.  While I haven’t done the best job of Godly influence, I am a part of a family that is striving to respond to God’s call for their lives.

I am thankful that I don’t have bad, negative friends.  All my life God has blessed me by putting people in my path who have made a profound influence on my life.  I know I didn’t always select them, but I have been abundantly blessed by them.

I am thankful I never served a church that I wanted to leave.  Serving at Capitol Heights, South Brookley, Trinity in Phenix City, and Frazer, has been a real blessing to me.

I am thankful I am not trying to find something to do to occupy my time during retirement.  I am glad I didn’t retire.  I am involved now in a ministry that could be the most fruitful of all my years of ministry.

I am thankful most of all that I am not a member of Satan’s team.  I am blessed to be on God’s team through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ and for His call upon my life with a purpose that’s so big and exciting that I can’t wait to get up every day.

Having a “Reverse Thanksgiving” has been a good exercise for me.  It is not the only and might not be the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it does give me a fresh perspective.

Have a great reverse Thanksgiving!

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