Gratitude can spot a flake of gold in a mound of sand. But sometimes, even the most grateful people have difficulty maintaining their perspective. Friends and family members gathered near the bedside of a man in a coma whose health had taken a turn for the worse. As the man lay on his bed, his wife of 50 years walked over to his bedside, kissed his forehead, and tightly clenched his hand in hers.

Suddenly, the man opened his eyes. He began to speak, causing a hush to come over the room. He looked at his wife and smiled. “Thank you so much for staying by my side all of these years. You were there when I lost my job at the bank; you stayed with me even after my business closed; and now, you have stood beside me during my long sickness. . . . You know, I’m starting to wonder if you’re bad luck.”

With Thanksgiving only one day away, we would do well to consider the people God has put in our lives to help, lead, love, encourage, challenge, teach, and serve us. Without these people, we would not be where we are today. At the same time, we should remember the role God has played in guiding our paths, saving our souls, answering our prayers, and providing for our needs. We should never forget our indebtedness to Him or the contributions of others. This will keep us from being critical, and it will make us humble.

Are you a thankful person? Be honest with yourself. When you see people, do you see them as “bad luck,” or do you recognize their contributions to your life and the lives of others? Another test is your view of God. Is God your Source of strength, your Refuge in trouble, your Friend? Or do you blame Him for all of your misfortune? Why don’t you make a list of five people for whom you are thankful, and make a point of showing them your appreciation. Don’t wait until you sit down to a turkey dinner to thank God for others. Foster the Thanksgiving spirit today. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.