Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 460 of Giving Thanks - Guest Writer, Shona Neff

As Christians we often hear about having thankful hearts. And, it is well we should! However, as it is with so many parts of our Christian faith, it can be easier said than done.

There are many of us who let “self” get in the way of a thankful heart. Often times I find myself in the kitchen scrubbing dishes. I am more disgruntled by the work of my hands than the fact I have a kitchen with running water, plenty of food to dirty the dishes bobbing among the effervescent bubbles, and a family to sup with.

Self kills a thankful heart. This same obsession was the stealthy murderer of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve. Scripture paints a picture of a man who elevated his love of money over all else (John 12:4-6, Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11). What a strong pull financial matters had on this keeper of the funds that he betrayed Jesus for the current-day equivalent of about twelve dollars.

Judas’ self must have been the root that caused the unthinkable betrayal and prevented him from seeking the forgiveness of his Master afterward. Perhaps the infamous traitor’s “self” believed his sin was so great than forgiveness was impossible. Like I said, self is a killer.

Attitude affects a thankful heart. There are those whose natural inclinations cast a melancholy shade over their disposition. They tend to see things more from the down side, than the up. However, don’t think this shadow cast by a blue demeanor affects only those inclined toward it. Each of us is guilty of allowing the negative spirits of judgment, blame, and criticism, to usurp our attitude of gratitude now and then. When we kick positive thoughts out of hearts, we invite hostility in for an extended stay.

Give Thanks Daily

Thankful hearts glorify Jesus!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God” (Philippians 4:4-6 NRSV).

Whether it is self or attitude, both are murderers. They kill the spirit and, taken to the extreme, can kill us physically. The fact that Judas Iscariot hung himself is a testament to that.

What if Judas had set aside “self” and, instead, rejoiced in his position as one of Jesus’ Twelve? What if, instead of greed, Judas immersed himself in gentleness? And, what if, after his act of betrayal, he had been motivated by gratitude and approached Jesus for forgiveness? Things would have been different for that sinner if he had sought forgiveness instead of a rope.

Let us all have thankful hearts. It is right to give thanks in the small things and rejoice in the big. Let our thoughts dive into what is good instead of allowing them to hover pathetically over the bad. Rejoice in the Lord always and give thanks daily.

Shona Neff, a bit more information…
Shona loves to inspire people with God’s Word and help them pursue God’s call on their lives. She is Senior Editor of Rooted Living digital magazine, co-founder of StepUP Writing and Speaking Services, and maintains a personal blog,, which includes audio devotions taken from her radio show, Practical Christianity. She is also an editor, writer, speaker, and personality consultant.

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