One day an atheist moved into the house next door. He became irritated at the little old lady. So every morning he’d step onto his front porch after her and yell: “There is no God!”
Time passed with the two of them carrying on this way every day.
One morning, in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted: “Praise God!!! Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving, please provide for me.”
The next morning she stepped out onto her porch and there were two huge bags of groceries sitting there. “Praise God!” she cried out.
“He has provided groceries for me!”
The atheist jumped out of the hedges and shouted: “Ah, hah!! There is no God! I bought those groceries!!” The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted: “Praise God! He has provided for me with groceries and made the Devil pay for them!”
This joke reminded me of the two perspectives that drive so many people in their beliefs. One person sees the hand of God in the positive actions of others, while another person sees the actions of others as the one and only reality. How about you? Even though you believe in God, do you see all good things as coming from God?
James 1:17 says, “Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon.”
If every good gift can be traced back to God, would you agree that people have reason to be thankful to Him every day? Even if someone who does not share our beliefs, someone who is generally unkind or a kindness comes our way by seeming coincidence — should we not be thankful and give the praise to God?
Studies have shown that people who regularly practice the art of giving thanks are happier. Experts say gratitude can help us overcome any problem or hardship. It gives us perspective on what is important, what we truly value and what we have right in front of us. In our small corner of this vast universe, we find the most miraculous thing of all: life. No matter what situation we are in or worries we face, we can always be grateful that we are alive on this beautiful planet.
The positive thinking triggered by our gratitude has proven health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, reducing stress and depression, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, better coping skills during hardship and overall increased sense of well-being, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“If (thankfulness) were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system,” said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center.
Scientists have found that people who practice being grateful regularly, experience many health benefits including, smoother and coherent heart rhythms, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a stronger immune system, longer more restful sleep, healthier relationships with others, better physical fitness, a higher sense of attentiveness, alertness and energy as well as fewer feelings of sadness and depression.
Could it be that humans were created to flourish by being thankful? Yet, more than just being thankful, the Bible recommends at Ephesians 5:20, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” — New International Version.
Why is this so important? When we recognize the proper channel of God’s arrangement — that is, thanking Him in the name of Jesus — we open ourselves to further blessings. Yes, God blesses all humans by making the sun shine on the righteous and unrighteous, as Jesus said at Matthew 5:45. He gives generously to all, even to unbelievers and the unthankful. That is the kind of God He is. But to those who acknowledge His perfect presents and gifts as coming from above, there are special blessings.
As Psalms 145:14-16 says, “The Lord supports all who fall down, straightens up all who are bent low. All eyes look to you, hoping, and you give them their food right on time, opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” — Common English Bible.
Since the Bible says “All eyes look to you (God), hoping...” — there is an implication that Divine blessings comes to those who believe in God and look to Him for support.
The fact that God is described as “opening” His hand may suggest that His blessings are continuous in satisfying the desire of every living thing. Of course, that may apply more fully when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven, but by our becoming consciously aware of what we are thankful for in life, and giving the praise to God for all He does, we can be assured that when people do us good, it too, is coming from this generous God.