As most of you know, here in the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I realize that this Tip goes to many other countries where a “Thanksgiving kind of holiday” is celebrated at different times. Regardless of where you live and when you celebrate it, Thanksgiving is a good time to remember to be thankful and grateful for everything that you have in life. I have often been reminded that success in life has everything to do with an attitude of gratitude. When a person has a good attitude and a grateful heart, those qualities seem to open doors of opportunity for them that have never been opened otherwise. Not many people who are bitter and ungrateful have prospered very much in their life.
Years ago, I heard the story of an Englishman by the name of Matthew Henry. He was a preacher and well-known Bible scholar who lived from 1662 to 1714. His commentary of the Old and New Testament is still in print to this very day. He was known for his practical application, combined with a well-sustained flow of English literature. Perhaps that is what made his commentary one of the best works of its kind.
One day Matthew Henry was riding his horse through the woods. He was on his way to a church meeting where he was going to be the guest speaker. Suddenly, a masked bandit ran out of the woods with a gun in his hand and demanded that Matthew Henry get off his horse. Mr. Henry obeyed the robber, as he knew this was a dangerous situation. Even though he tried to talk to the man about God and spiritual matters, the bandit would hear none of it. He quickly took all of Matthew Henry’s money and ran back into the woods. It all happened so quickly that Mr. Henry hardly had time to realize what had happened. Although he was now penniless, he got back on his horse and continued on his journey.
His mind took him to the thought that we are supposed to give thanks in everything that happens to us. He asked God how he was supposed to be thankful for being robbed! As he continued on his way, the answer came to him. That night he told the story regarding what had happened to him earlier that same day. He concluded his message by sharing six reasons he could be thankful for what had happened to him that very same day.
“First,” he said, “I am thankful I have never been robbed before. Second, I am thankful he took my money and not my life. Third, I am thankful the bandit did not take more than he did; he could have taken my horse and my clothes as well. Fourth, I am thankful that what I had stolen from me really did not amount to very much. Next, I am grateful that what I lost, in time, could be replaced. And, finally, and most importantly of all, I am thankful that I was the one robbed and not the robber!”
Isn’t that a fantastic attitude of thankfulness and gratitude? I remember reading that story years ago and thinking, “I want to be that kind of person.” I want to be the kind of person who looks for the good, the pure and the positive in everything that happens in my life. If I believed that life was just a string of random events that haphazardly happened to me, I think I would live in a constant state of depression. I must believe that life has its way of teaching me what it wants me to know. If I will look for ways to have a grateful heart and be thankful in any situation, I will find them, just as Matthew Henry did so long ago.
During this time of Thanksgiving, let me encourage you to look at even the most difficult, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching situations that you may be facing right now and look for ways that you can be grateful for what has taken place in your life. In the midst of our darkest moments there is still good to be found.
I don’t know about you, but I have discovered that having a thankful heart really is the basis for everything good that happens in my life and it continues to open doors of opportunity that I never could have imagined. Have a thankful heart and it will open doors of opportunity for you, too!
Tip: There is always something for which you can be thankful!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm