Tag Archives: Matthew Henry

A Thankful Mindset

Several years ago, I taught a sales psychology class. It was designed to help salespeople stay mentally tough because they’re rejected so often. One of the things I taught in it was the Law of Thanksgiving. It stated that the more we give thanks, the more we have to be thankful for. It was all about counting your blessings and then giving thanks for every one of them. It really is an attitude changer when you decide to be thankful each day to find something in your life to be thankful for. The first couple of weeks are pretty easy, but after that, your mind starts to get stretched and gets creative in looking for things to be thankful for. It ultimately changes your perspective on your life and changes how you look at the world.

In a time where the news is dominated by statistics of people getting sick and dying, it’s a great time to reprogram your mind to looking for things to be grateful for. Matthew Henry, a Welsh minister in the 1600’s, demonstrated this line of thinking when his wallet was stolen. He said, “I am thankful that he never robbed me before. I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he didn’t take my life. Although he took all I had, it wasn’t much. I am glad that it was I who was robbed, and not I who did the robbing.” He had adopted a mindset of being thankful and it changed his perspective on things that happened to him. It’s a mindset that we all should have, and I believe it starts with reminding ourselves that all we have has been given to us by God. He is who we need to be thankful to.

Psalm 16:5 says, “You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands” (GNT). It’s important that we start with the thought that God is your source of everything and and that everything you have belongs to Him. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes,” is how Job put it. Being mindful of this helps keep our minds right when the future is uncertain and fear wants to creep in. He has and will continue to give you all you need. Your future is in His hands, not yours. Following the Law of Thanksgiving is a great way to remember that and to give thanks where it’s due. It will allow you to worship during calamity and to be content whether you have a little or a lot. It’s the mindset I believe God is calling us all back to.

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Choosing Thankfulness

As Paul was wrapping up his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, he quit expounding on things and started rapid firing commands. Pray for and honor your spiritual leaders. Be joyful always. Test all things. Avoid evil. He puts one right in the middle that to me is one of the hardest commands. He says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT). What? How can I be thankful in all circumstances? Why doesn’t he expound on this and tell us how? I’ve wrestled with these questions and this verse my whole life.

As I was pondering this recently, I remembered the words of a British Bible scholar from the 1600’s, Matthew Henry, when someone stole his wallet. He said, “Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.“ Wow! That’s someone who chose to be thankful in all circumstances. He understood that you don’t have to be thankful for your circumstances, but you can find ways to be thankful in them.

It comes down to a matter of our heart. Are we choosing to blame God for our problems or are we finding ways to be thankful despite them? God’s desire for each of us is to learn thankfulness because it changes our perspective. When circumstances arise in our life, we can choose to become bitter or better. That outcome is dependent on what we focus on when we don’t like our present situation. Choosing to be thankful in all circumstances is definitely the more difficult choice, but it produces much better results in our life.

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