Bob Tamasy: Be A Thermostat For Thanksgiving

Monday, November 20, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

When it comes to the temperature of a room, we commonly use two devices. One is a thermometer, telling us what the temperature is. The other’s the thermostat, which controls what we desire the temperature to be. Similarly, for our everyday lives, we can choose to be one or the other.

We see lots of people acting like thermometers, reflecting the “temperature” around them, whether it’s beliefs, attitudes, or social behavior. Like walking into an extremely warm room, or the frigid outdoors, they soon become just like the environment surrounding them. But other people function more like thermostats, being influencers of their environments rather than becoming “influenc-ees.”

This is important as we approach another Thanksgiving Day.

Later this week, many of us will gather with family and friends for a lavish meal. Turkey or ham may be the featured attraction, accompanied by mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, various casseroles, bread and rolls, followed by pumpkin or pecan pie. The menu varies from home to home, but surrounded by such abundance, it’s easy to feel thankful in the moment. Prayers around the table before we dig in confirm that.

But what about the weeks leading up to the holiday? Or the days after? How thankful are we then? This is where we can choose our role – thermometer, or thermostat. 

We can all think of reasons for not feeling thankful, some of us more than others. It could be a chronic, or even terminal, illness we or a loved one may be facing. Financial pressures might seem unrelenting. Personal conflicts may be resistant to resolution. You can add to the list from your own situation. The onslaught of negative news nationally and internationally tends to reduce the “thankfulness quotient.” Nevertheless, the Scriptures give us these challenging words: “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

This verse doesn’t tell us to be thankful in some circumstances, or even most of them. We’re told to give thanks in all circumstances. As a friend of mine often says, when the Bible says “all,” it means ALL. Even if we find there’s too much month left at the end of our pay, we’re to be thankful. Even when the physician gives us a diagnosis we don’t like, we’re to give thanks. Even when we’ve been wronged, and it appears there’s been no justice against the wrongdoer, God wants us to have an attitude of thanksgiving anyway.

Thousands of years ago, King Solomon recorded his quest for happiness and ultimate gratification. His findings are recorded in the Old Testament book we call Ecclesiastes. Much of what he concluded is pretty dismal: “Meaningless! Meaningless!… Utter meaninglessness! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) is how he starts off, repeating it often over the succeeding chapters.

He doesn’t sound very thankful, does he? Solomon was called the wisest man of all time, possessing more wealth than anyone could imagine. If he couldn’t find reason to give thanks in all circumstances, how can we be expected to do so?

But not everything the king wrote was discouraging. His pursuit of pleasure and prosperity did give him much-needed perspective. Because he also realized, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

At the end of his writings, Solomon added this summary: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). He seemed to be saying that if we keep the Lord foremost in our lives and our thoughts, He will give us more than we need for living a thankful life.

And in the New Testament, we discover an even greater “gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8-9 assures all who trust in Him, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Salvation, forgiveness for our sins, reconciliation with God – and the faith to believe we have all this – are more than enough cause for giving thanks, not only on Thanksgiving Day but also every day, regardless of our current circumstances.

As we express and live out our thanksgiving despite the situations in which we must live, we can serve as “thermostats” for those around us, creating an environment of thankfulness for others to experience.

----


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Mitch McClure To Speak On "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Go: We've Got To Get Out Of This Place" in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  Pastor Mitch McClure will lead the congregation in a time of worship, and prayer on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Sunday school classes are available for all ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church To Celebrate Its 112th Church Anniversary

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church at 1115 North Moore Road, will celebrate its 112th church anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 10:45 a.m. The guest speaker will be Rev. Fred Houser. (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Fairyland PTO Says It Can't Get Help From Walker County Schools And Board For Cafeteria Woes

Officials of the Fairyland Elementary School PTO said in recent months, the Fairyland Elementary School cafeteria "has effectively been shut down due to equipment (which broke in June) and consequent staffing issues." The group said, "As it stands now, all food is 'satellited' in from Ridgeland High School to Fairyland Elementary School for all meals including breakfast, lunch ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

The reviews are good after we initiated “The Funny Video of the Week” but today let me take the liberty of sharing an oldie that I consider the funniest of all time. Please be aware the principals are speaking Polish, which you also need to know makes not a bit of difference. I have watched “The Polish Spoon Trick” at least 50 times because every time I watch the video it makes ... (click for more)