“Give thanks! Likkle still lef!”*
–The late Willmoth. A. Peddie (Nov 1919–Jul 1995).
I have learned a lot through the practical and theoretical teachings of my grandfather. One of the many things I’ve learned from him is how to maintain our peace. It took many years for me to understand why he would always respond in that nature when someone asked him how he was doing—“Likkle still left mon. Give thanks! Give thanks!” Without fail, his respond would be somewhat similar to that, encouraging his listeners to give God thanks no matter how bad things may seem. It meant that instead of focusing on the negative such as the illness, or the lack of things deemed necessary, we should give thanks for what we have—life—the very breath we breath.
He would wake up very early in the mornings to travel to the field. There he would tend to the animals, plough the field making it ready for the seeds (if it was sowing season). Then he would milk the cows, dig food from the ground or pick fruits from the trees and be back in time for breakfast (during reaping season). No one does that kind of work without exhaustion becoming an unwelcomed guest. Yet, he didn’t complain he always had a reason to give thanks. Even while he was sick and getting ready to leave us behind he had a reason to be thankful. Instead of looking at all that was going wrong or falling apart around him, he saw that he still had a little life left in him to give God the praise!
In honour of the life of my granddad, and in obedience to the Word of God, I would like to encourage you this day to be thankful. See the beauty in all that is around you. Focus on the positive things and soon the things of this world will grow strangely dim. Below are some Bible verses that helped me to keep my focus on the things of Christ and less on the things of the world (this doesn’t mean we should be naïve to what’s happening around us or turn a blind eye to sin. Instead, it helps us to remain calm in the midst of a chaotic world. Therefore, we can help others to see the light and honour the Word in Galatians 6:1-3.)
The Scripture that helped me understand the lesson my grandfather was trying to teach, comes from Philippians 2:14–15:
‘Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.’
It was last December I began to focus on the truths within that Scripture. For years I had been part of a group where people were very angry and complained about everything—they didn’t seemed to have much to be thankful for. I was starting to lose focus on God and beginning to focus on the people and circumstances around me. Soon enough I too became angry and started to respond from a place of anger. In December of last year my husband and I talked to God about the lack of peace and asked Him for direction. We were directed to Philippians 2:14. We memorised it but I still found it difficult to maintain my peace, being in such an unhealthy environment. Just being aware of the verse wasn’t going to help me, I had to practise it. We started practising it in our everyday lives. We would correct each other as soon as we found that one or the other was heading in the direction of complaining. We would also pray and ask God’s forgiveness and His help to honour His Word. Guess what? It sure did make a difference! There was a change in our attitudes towards life. Then we realised that verse 15 gave us the reason for applying this verse to our lives. I was determined to maintain my peace, in order to honour God’s Word.
I had also to remind myself of another Scripture in order to help me keep practising Philippians 2:14. It was one of the first Bible verses my husband had shared with our fellowship as he exhorted the saints, ‘In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’(1Thessalonians 5:18, KJV). I began to seek out the good in all situations. Being thankful does not come easy when you are going through the struggles of life—I needed all the help I could get to remind me of God’s truth. To remain thankful, I had to focus on the teachings of Philippians 4:8 (NIV, Youth Bible):
‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’
I pray that you will find the value in being more thankful so that you will not be tempted to feed that complaining spirit. It is a choice we make—no one can make that choice for us. We have to practice using the gifts that God has given to us, in order to see the benefit of using those gifts in our lives. When we focus our time and energy on the things of this world we will always find reasons to complain, get angry with each other and open the door to entertain more evil spirits in our lives. However, when we choose to focus on the things of Christ, we will find more reasons to give thanks and the complaints will gradually cease.
Maintaining a thankful heart will ignite the fruit of the Spirit within us (see Galatians 5:22-23) and we will have more to be thankful for, than we could ever report. Happy Thanksgiving!
Your sister in Christ
Janice (28th November 2013).
*__“..Likkle still lef!”--Jamaican Creole: “…Little still left.”
Meaning:As long as you have life you have a reason to be thankful so give thanks, for there is still a little life left in you.
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