A thankful spirit pervaded the entire life of Jesus, and surrounded with a heavenly halo His otherwise darkened path. In moments we least expect to find it, this beauteous ray breaks through the gloom. In instituting the memorial of His death, He "gave thanks!" Even in crossing the Kedron to Gethsemane, "He sang an hymn!"
We know in seasons of deep sorrow and trial that every thing wears a gloomy aspect. Dumb Nature herself to the burdened spirit seems as if she partook in the hues of sadness. The life of Jesus was one continuous experience of privation and woe -- a "Valley of Baca," from first to last; yet, amid accents of plaintive sorrow, there are ever heard subdued undertones of thankfulness and joy!
Ah, if He, the suffering "Man of sorrows," could, during a life of unparalleled woe, lift up His heart in grateful acknowledgment to His Father in heaven, how ought the lives of those to be one perpetual "hymn of thankfulness," who are from day to day and hour to hour (for all they have, both temporally and spiritually) pensioners on God's bounty and love!
Reader! cultivate this thankful spirit; it will be to thee a perpetual feast. There is, or ought to be, with us no such thing as small mercies; all are great, because the least are undeserved. Indeed, a really thankful heart will extract motive for gratitude from every thing, making the most even of scanty blessings. St. Paul, when in his dungeon at Rome, a prisoner in chains, is heard to say, "I have all, and abound!"
Guard, on the other hand, against that spirit of continual fretting and moping over fancied ills; that temptation to exaggerate the real or supposed disadvantages of our condition, magnifying the trifling inconveniences of every-day life into enormous evils. Think, rather, how much we have to be thankful for. The world in which we live, in spite of all the scars of sin and suffering upon it, is a happy world. It is not, as many would morbidly paint it, flooded with tears and strewn with wrecks, plaintive with a perpetual dirge of sorrow. True, the "Everlasting Hills" are in glory, but there are numberless eminences of grace, and love, and mercy below; many green spots in the lower valley, many more than we deserve!
God will reward a thankful spirit. Just as on earth, when a man receives with gratitude what is given, we are more disposed to give again, so also, "the Lord loveth" a cheerful "receiver," as well as a cheerful "giver."
Let ours, moreover, be a Gospel thankfulness. Let the incense of a grateful spirit rise not only to the Great Giver of all good, but to our Covenant God in Christ. Let it be the spirit of the child exulting in the bounty and beneficence of his Father's house and home! "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
While the sweet melody of gratitude vibrates through every successive moment of our daily being, let love to our adorable Redeemer show for whom and for what it is we reserve our notes of loftiest and most fervent praise. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!
"ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND."