In the Hebrew language there are several ways to express thanks or gratitude. The one I like best for our season of Thanksgiving is Hakarat Ha’tov which literally means “recognizing the good”. In the world today, finding “good” to recognize can be a challenge. And too often recognizing something good triggers a severe, negative response from those for whom any good thing came at the expense of something or someone else. For many the world is a zero-sum game.
But, I cannot believe this world is a zero-sum game. Therefore, I choose to recognize the good things in my life. First and foremost, I am thankful for the Gospel, The Good News of Jesus Christ “for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). "Salvation for everyone who believes". It is only a zero-sum game for those who choose to make it so.
My wife, Kayla, is certainly at the top of my good things list. She is the one who makes everything else in my life better. But like all good things, they don’t come easy, and they take time. That would certainly apply to our marriage. I am no day at the beach yet she still loves me.
Next would be health. After a couple of scares last year, I recognize how good it is to be healthy again. Of course, the years along with some bad habits and poor decisions can take their toll. But I am in pretty good shape now for the shape I’m in.
And I recognize the good of working. That I am still engaged in work I can pursue full-time and do reasonably well at my age is a very good thing. And the team we have at High Road Partners makes that all possible.
I recognize the good of being blessed financially. By the grace of God, I’ve had some financial success in my career and the very good fortune to be born in the right place, at the right time to the right people.I have more money than I need and certainly more than I deserve. (And I do realize that some would say that’s a bad thing.)
I recognize the good of The United States of America while still acknowledging the bad of slavery and the treatment of Native Americans. I also recognize the bad history of denying constitutional freedoms to so many of our citizens. I recognize that this nation is not perfect and has never been perfect. But to be sure, it beats anything coming in second place.
Hakarat Ha’tov, “recognizing the good”. At Thanksgiving, it’s worth a try. We might even start to see some good in those with whom we disagree.