The Alabama Crimson Tide stands at the stadium opening before they run out onto the field, chanting, “Get your mind right.” Thanksgiving is kind of like that situation: it is you standing at the opening of life, chanting, "Get your soul right." In fact, Thanksgiving is not only for you, but rather more specifically, it is for your spirit.

Thankful with Kevin Elko

kevin Elko

 

Kevin Elko recently shared this with his tribe and I thought it was worth sharing with you.

 

Isn’t it funny that we celebrate most if not all of our holidays without any real recognition of what their intended purpose is? How can we ever explain a holiday’s intended purpose to our children or anyone when few of us ever stop to think what Thanksgiving is really about? The Alabama Crimson Tide stands at the stadium opening before they run out onto the field, chanting, “Get your mind right.” Thanksgiving is kind of like that situation: it is you standing at the opening of life, chanting, “Get your soul right.” In fact, Thanksgiving is not only for you, but rather more specifically, it is for your spirit.

 

The rap singer Ice Cube sang, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.” People wreck themselves by being in a constant state of comparison, not in a state of Thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul said that “comparison, in doing so, one is not wise.” And although comparison seems to be the natural tendency, its end game is misery. When King Saul and David came back from battle and the women of the village were singing, “Saul killed a 1,000, but David killed 10,000,” Saul immediately started to compare and judge. He compared—not that the women adored him (a 1,000 isn’t bad)—how much more they adored David; and, therefore, at that moment, he started to despise David—not for who David was (In fact, Saul loved David)–but rather for how much more David was loved by others in comparison to himself. The end game—a deep, unsubstantiated hatred—resulted ultimately in Saul’s suicide. Saul could not check himself so he wrecked himself.

 

Comparison is the order of most days. Most people spend too much on clothes, cars, houses—you name it—all in the cause of comparison. Many say, “I have to measure up or exceed or something is wrong!” But comparison is the opposite of thanksgiving because, by comparing, you are making a statement: “Who I am and what I have are not enough.” You are making others your idol because others become your benchmark, not you yourself and your blessings or gifts. Therefore, how can any amount be enough if it is not as much as some identified other? In other words, many hear the song in their head, “I killed a 1,000, but they love the one who killed 10,000.” I have watched many in sports wreck their careers because they compared themselves to others; even though they were doing well, they were restless and miserable, because they perceived someone else doing better. Believe it or not, there are sports contracts out there for which some coaches make sure they are paid one dollar mor  e than the highest paid coach. If we think we are blessed when we are slightly better than someone else because of what we think that person has, that situation makes it tough to be thankful, doesn’t it?

 

You would do much better if you realized that God has given you the gifts that you need to do the specific job He has in mind for you to do. You were made unique for a unique job. Maybe in your eyes, it’s not a $10,000 job, but rather a $1,000 job, but to him, it is everything. And maybe you cannot do the job that someone else does or that you cannot have their gifts; but someone else cannot do yours, either. Martin Luther King once said, “Some of us are Fords and some of us are Cadillacs, and if you can accept yourself as a Ford, you can get into a parking space that a Cadillac can never fit into.” If you are thankful for what God has given to you and for the blessings in your life, you leave behind being pitiful and become powerful. Comparison will always make you think that what others are doing and receiving is taking away from you. Comparison is a scarcity mentality when you want an abundance mentality. Godliness and contentment is great gain: when I count up what I ha  ve left over, which is what Thanksgiving is about, I feel contentment; that feeling is great gain.

 

Most do not know what being blessed looks like. We think that blessed is what some other has. But being blessed is really recognizing what you have. Moreover, God did not create you to run AGAINST others but rather to run WITH THE VOICE that God gave you in your head. Paul said, “May I apprehend that which I was apprehended of.” In other words, can I try to catch that which caught me, can I work out of me that which God put inside me? Therefore, the start is your recognition of the gifts you have—that which God put inside of you—and being grateful for that.

 

Thanksgiving is quite the opposite of comparison. It is a day that we are checking ourselves. We are stopping and resetting our eyes to look again for the blessings and the good. Do you know what Thanksgiving is for? It is for the eyes. In our goal setting program “To Do the Impossible, You Must See the Invisible,” the entire program is about setting your eyes. Thanksgiving is about new goals – of seeing the good and the unique around you and in you. There was a monk who lived in Big Sur, California, who would look for one new thing to be thankful for, and at the end of the day, he looked upward and said aloud what he saw that day to be thankful for. He retrained his eyes – he checked himself and that is Thanksgiving.

 

It is easy to count up what was taken or what we don’t have by comparison. But thanksgiving is intentional, not accidental. Comparison and the miserable that it leads to will happen by itself, but thanksgiving and the contentment it brings is establishing a deliberate set of thoughts and actions that has you saying, “God gave me the gift of listening or laughing or easy-going-ness or being feisty or having a sense of humor—or whatever—and for that gift, I am thankful. He gave that to me to be used inside of his unique plan for my life, and I am humbled that He has a unique plan for my life so let me count up the blessings so I can see them even clearer and do the unique work He has planned for me even more effectively.” Start recognizing the gifts you have—that you have been given. Then, Thanksgiving as a holiday is not a one-day event but rather a new start of a daily ritual of being cognizant of who you are, what God made you to be and what the gifts are you were given.

 

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to tell you stories and inspire you all year long. I am humbled and love all of you out there. And thanks to my God for allowing me my gifts to be in front of all of you. To Him I am overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:7). I pray that I may be overflowing all year round.

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