By the way the young man responded to my gift, you might think I was back home in the US instead of in a foreign country. On a trip I took to Trinidad last year, I brought some gifts for the young people. I gave them as prizes to a young man and woman. The young woman gratefully accepted her gift. But the young man didn’t like what he had received. It was a new Chicago Bulls shirt. He told me, “I don’t like the Bulls.” Then he threw the shirt on the floor and left the room. If I had another gift to give either of these young people, to whom do you think I would give it?

We like grateful people. It’s easier to show kindness or go out of our way for them. It’s also easier to work and live with them. God feels the same way about us. When we ask Him for things, He wants thanksgiving to be included in our prayers. When we struggle with problems too great for us to handle, He wants us to give thanks in the middle of them. When people don’t like us and do things to hurt us, He wants us to still be grateful. When life takes an unexpected turn for the worst, He listens for the words “I thank God” to flow from our hearts to our mouths. Why? Because He knows that when we are thankful, we are ready for His greatest blessings.

Too often we complain when we don’t get what we want in life. Today we can break this habit and start a new one: choosing to give thanks no matter what. From the national news to our personal lives, we can find some reason to be thankful in everything. As we become more grateful, we will see more of God’s blessings — and we will appreciate everything that comes from His hand.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder