Thankfulness is more than words. A young woman checked the mail and noticed someone had sent her a scarf and a matching pair of gloves for her birthday. She wasn’t really impressed, but found out the gift was from her uncle.

A couple weeks later, the uncle got a phone call from his niece. She said, “Thanks very much, Uncle Wilbur, for my birthday gift.”

“Oh, that’s nothing to thank me for!”

The niece told him, “That’s what I thought, but Mother told me to thank you anyway.”

We all need to learn how to give thanks, whether we like what we’ve been given or not. That’s because God commands thanksgiving. But thanksgiving is more than just saying “Thank you” to someone because they’ve done something nice for you. Thanksgiving should be a part of everything we do. Then it becomes “thanksliving”.

The secret lies in understanding today’s verse, “In every thing give thanks”. The Apostle Paul knew there’d be a lot of things we couldn’t honestly be thankful for—like when was the last time you thanked God for a mosquito bite or a car accident? Most of us probably didn’t. But if we thought about how things could have been much worse, we’d get thankful in a hurry. On second thought, it’s a good thing you didn’t get West Nile Virus or malaria from that mosquito bite—and it’s even better that you survived the car wreck. This is called comparative thanksgiving.

Things could always be worse. It is this attitude which helps us put life in perspective so we can give thanks in everything. Why don’t you give comparative thanksgiving a try today? Once you’ve started thanksliving, you will have peace and contentment no matter what comes your way.

One act of thanksgiving when things go wrong with us is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclination. — Bishop John Jewel

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder