Mike McElroy

An Additive That’s Good For You

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. - Colossians 3:15

2019 is slipping away. December is upon us. Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is coming soon. You’ll probably be extra busy and feel some extra stress as you try to get everything done. Maybe I’m only telling on myself, but it could be true about you, too.

May I suggest a way to make December better by reminding us of something I hope you thought about just the other day? Remember the fourth Thursday of November? That’s right. It was Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving Day. Since I was a pudgy little boy, it’s been one of my favorite holidays. I have sweet memories of Thanksgivings past.

But I also think every day should be like Thanksgiving, as much as possible. I know our families can’t get together all that often. Most of us can’t afford to eat every day like we tend to do that day. But that spirit of gratitude should not be confined to a day. We shouldn’t lose our thankful hearts when we turn the calendar to December.

I like that little three-word sentence at the end of Colossians 3:15: "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." And be thankful. It's imperative, not optional. It points us to attitudes and behaviors that glorify God, bless the people around us and improve our own disposition. I certainly have room for improvement in all three areas. "And be thankful." It's added onto what's already in the verse.

Let’s think about thanksgiving as an additive (something put with what’s already there) for December and every other month. Thanksgiving needs to be something added to our routines, our relationships and our requests year-round.

Let's think about our busy routines. We might use our crowded schedule as an excuse to hurry past being thankful to God and one another for the blessings and gifts we receive in a day. But whatever the agenda, we will do better when we add some thanksgiving to the day. If we're in too big a hurry to acknowledge kindnesses shown us with genuine thanks, we need to slow down. Do what the day's list demands, "and be thankful."

Holidays put extra stress on relationships. Couldn't your relationships use some added heartfelt expressions of gratitude from you? Paul knew it was important to express thanks for the people in his life. He told the Philippians, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3). How many husbands and wives, parents and children and even co-workers fail to give and receive thanks for each other’s efforts? When you say "thanks" out loud, it blesses the ones you tell and it speaks to your own heart, too. "And be thankful."

Making requests to our heavenly Father is a high privilege of being His child. We should never be too busy to pray, asking God's blessings. And when we pray, we ought to grow beyond recitation and listing our requests to genuine, worshipful thanksgiving. Remember, thanksgiving is the appropriate accompaniment to requests: "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). God is exalted and we are humbled when we acknowledge and give thanks to him. Fight anxiety by exercising your privilege. Ask in faith, "and be thankful."

Some additives are not helpful. A whole industry produces and markets all-natural foods without additives. But thanksgiving is one of the good additives. So, let’s enjoy these active days, cherish our relationships, say our prayers, "and be thankful."