If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s about to get. – Frank A. Clark
A story is told of two men who were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it.
Terrified, the one shouted to the other, “Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!”
John answered, “I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life.”
“But you must!” implored his companion. “The bull is catching up to us.”
“All right,” panted John, “I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.'”
With all of the pressures and demands that are placed on leaders today it’s as important as ever to stop and give thanks. In this season as we prepare to do just that, let’s examine why it’s important to you as a leader to give thanks.
It puts the past in perspective
Every leader has a story to tell regarding his or her journey. You’ve had up’s and down’s, struggles, and sacrifices along the way. There were times you probably thought about throwing in the towel. But here you are. No, you haven’t “arrived” yet, but you are in a good place and in comparison to where you were, you are very blessed.
It’s important to remember the past but not to live there. The perspective you gain is in knowing that every trial and experience along the way has prepared you for this moment and for a bright future ahead. Be thankful for your past and where you have come from, but keep looking forward.
It gives the present a purpose
When you develop a thankful heart as a leader it helps give purpose to your present. If you are holding on to a hurt, or bitterness from your past, you won’t be effective as a leader today. Let it go. You are right where you are for a reason. Your past experiences, good and bad, have prepared you for this time and place in your leadership journey. You may not be where you want to be, but then again, you are not where you once were either.
It’s as you understand your purpose and put it into context you can excel in your leadership skills. As you carry within you a thankful heart and serve with humility you can set the course for a bright future.
It gives a hope for the future
When you learn the secret of a thankful heart it frees you as a leader. When you learn to count your blessings instead of your troubles, it will help you look at your troubles with a different attitude. You are not defined by your past and you are not the sum of your fears or your mistakes. You have a solid grip on the present. You have hope.
Your future is wide open and is predicated on being thankful for all the blessings you now enjoy. As you ponder these and other blessings during this time of the year, do so with a renew commitment to not neglect this important area of your leadership. What are you thankful for?
© 2014 Doug Dickerson