Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Thanksgiving from a player's view

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” — Psalm 107:1

Let’s take a look at what our athletes are thankful for this season:

“There’s so much I’m thankful for, not only in the past but in the present. I’m thankful for my wife. I’m thankful for my kids. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful that I can play this game. And if everything was taken away from me — if this world passed away — I would still be thankful because the thing I’m most grateful for is my relationship with God.

Before we go to God to ask Him for anything, we need to be thankful for all that He’s given us, all that He’s done, and most importantly, all that He is. Our God is constantly revealing His character to us, displaying His power, wisdom and love for us to see. Our first priority should be to praise Him for who He is — the all-powerful God. Without Him, we are nothing.”

Demario Davis, New York Jets linebacker

“This year the Lord’s been teaching me a lot about thankfulness and contentment. I’ve realized that I can look around and wish I had different circumstances — with better things, a healthier body for baseball, or was in a different place in life — or I can see all that God has blessed me with and say, “Man, God, You have been so gracious to me up to this point and I trust that You will continue to be.” He’s given me an amazing family, who can all gather together back home in Houston for this holiday. We are so thankful to God for keeping us all safe from the hurricane. I’m thankful for a great group of friends who are able to encourage me and who I’m able to encourage — people who I truly enjoy spending time with. I’m thankful for the food that is always on our table and the roof over our heads. There are just so many things to be grateful for. It can be really easy to take these things for granted — to get caught up in the “more, more, more” or the “I don’t have enough” mindset — but I’ve been praying that God would continue to sharpen my perspective and keep my heart humble before Him and thankful for all He does.”

Mark Appel, Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher

“On Thanksgiving, when we gather all the family members in one room, I love to pray and give thanks to our Lord. I want my kids to hear me explain why we should be thankful and how cool it is to be together as a family in the same way that Jesus got together with His disciples. I love to demonstrate God’s love to my family members, especially the ones who knew me before I had given my life over to Christ so that they can see the power of God at work in my heart.”

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher

“Yes, we are supposed to have an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude year-round, but it’s great to have a specific holiday build around thankfulness to really focus on the good things we’ve been given. As Christians, this is a focus set on all that God is and all that He does for us.”

Lance Berkman, former MLB outfielder

“We aren’t exactly an over-emotional family, but Thanksgiving is one day when we see the tears fall. We always tend to poke fun at my mom because she gets especially emotional. We see it boiling up on that day as she prepares to lay out just how much she loves her family and that’s when we all look at each other and say, ‘Uh-oh, here it comes. Now everyone’s about to cry.’”

Steven Souza, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder

“This is one of the only times of the year that we can gather our families together in one place around a big meal and really focus on being thankful. I’m so thankful for my family and the love and support they continually give me. They’ve always been there for me through the highs and lows of my baseball career, continually checking in and being the rock that I need. I know I can always count on them.”

Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a time to really focus on being thankful. But what I really try to remember, and emphasize with my family, is that this really shouldn’t be a huge change from our everyday lives. This isn’t the one week a year when we should have hearts full of gratitude. Our prayers and hearts should constantly be riddled with thanksgiving! Of course, not every day is going to be a holiday, but as a believer, our focus shouldn’t change a whole lot. And as we move toward Christmastime, we can be extra thankful for what Jesus did for us. The giving and receiving of gifts should be only a slightly exaggerated version of how we bless and serve each other all year-round.”

Adam LaRoche, former MLB player

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