Do You Want To Be Happy?

Life includes us but is not just about us. When this truth gets a hold of us, we are changed from the inside out. We are then made grateful for the gift of life, and the call of service we are to give.

A grateful person is a happy person. A grateful person works to create happiness opportunities for others. Our attitude of gratitude sets the thermostat for our happiness. The size of a person’s soul can be measured by the size of a person’s thankfulness. And in thankfulness we stand before God with outstretched arms to serve others.

After 36 years of distinguished service in the United States Army, Col. Mike Cawthon recently retired. During his retirement ceremony a grateful nation expressed respect for Mike’s steady excellence in the performance of his duties. When Mike spoke he expressed his gratitude to all who were present and the many others who contributed to his life journey. Every “thank you” given was genuine. We were aware of the magnitude of what had been accomplished through Mike’s servant leadership.

A quote by Albert Schweitzer grabbed me by the collar of my soul and would not let go when I was in college. This medical doctor, scholar, and musician dedicated his life to service among courageous people in Africa. He said to others, “I don’t know what your destiny will be but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” This truth is imprinted on my heart and is printed on a plaque that greets me daily in my office.”

Whatever your response is to our recent local, state, and national elections—you can be strengthened by entering this Thanksgiving season with humble hearts who find comfort in God’s sovereign purposes and care. And through a life of gratitude and service we can renew ourselves as a united people.

Thanksgiving is an American tradition, begun by the Pilgrims and confirmed by Abraham Lincoln. While being a servant leader as our 16th President in the middle of our nation’s Civil War, Lincoln confirmed Thanksgiving on our national calendar. He cast a vision by which a divided nation could see a future beyond the current crisis. Knowing our human tendency toward self-gratification & resentment, our forefathers and foremothers built into our American calendar an annual rhythm for us to step outside our individual agendas and into a national agenda for God to heal our souls.

Thanksgiving is a conditioning exercise of the soul to exercise our gratitude muscles with words and actions. May the wonder of God and the joy of people bring awareness to our hearts, so that—regardless of our life conditions—we will overflow in gratitude awareness. As you gather with friends & family on Thanksgiving Day, build into your shared experience a time for giving thanks. Feel the call of a grateful servant leader and pray for that to spread across our community and nation. The good of life is seized when we serve. Gratitude for this goodness makes us happy. As we enter the Thanksgiving season, for what are you giving thanks.