Links Daily Devotional

The Winning Attitude, Part 1

In everything give thanks… (1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV)

That Montana day the sky was clear, powder blue, perfect.

But as I walked down the ninth hole, I was shaking my head in disgust. “Five over,” I moaned to myself, “I may just as well go home.” What a way to start my debut as a pro golfer!

Then I heard it again, “In everything give thanks.” Oh yeah, God, thanks. I looked back toward the clubhouse. I wanted out of this place.

Settle down. What difference does this make? In a short time everyone will forget what happened here. I took two deep breaths, put my iron shot about 20 feet and two-putted. Wow, a par.

“In everything give thanks.” The words came back again. And then again, “In everything give thanks.”

They seemed to halt my inner sarcasm.

To my amazement, 43 holes later, on my third-to-last hole, I had taken a one-shot lead. But I hooked my drive into the brush on the left side of the fairway. “In everything give thanks.” The four words came back again as they’d been coming to me for two and a half days. I found my ball nestled in the lower branch of a large bush. I smiled. By this time it wasn’t that hard to say, “Thank you.” Not a thank you for the poor shot I’d hit, but that I was there playing at all. And for being in the hunt. For the challenge.

I could see my way out, but I had to hit the ball from my knees left-handed back toward the fairway. Somehow I pulled off the shot, got the ball to the fairway, salvaged a bogey, and went on to win with a birdie on the last hole.

That was the first time I ever realized the power of thanksgiving.

That was almost 50 years ago and today these four little words, when I do what they say, change my attitude, just as they did 50 years ago.

One last story about one of my heroes, Dick Hightower. Dick was a missionary. After serving in Africa for many years he returned to Maryland, not far from us, to be closer to his family. Soon after, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and told he only had a short time to live. My wife Lorraine and I visited Dick shortly before his death. “When the doctor told me,” Dick said, “First Thessalonians 5:18 came to me. I began to give thanks.”

We went to encourage him, but Dick was the encourager. He wasn’t sad; we were the ones who were. His wife and son told us he lifted the spirit of everyone who came to visit him.

If you are not doing it, give it a chance today. Read the four words again, then offer a short word of thanksgiving about anything that comes to your mind. What seems good or what seems bad. Aim at doing it morning, noon, afternoon and evening. As constantly as you are able. Do it wholeheartedly. You will be well rewarded.

Jim Hiskey

January 22, 2013

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