The topic of thankfulness came up earlier today while I was visiting with a friend. What did I take away from the brief conversation? I do a poor job of giving thanks to God for all that He has done in my life. With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner, I thought this would be a great time to look at some of the biblical principles of giving thanks.
“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” ~ Harry A. Ironside
First and foremost, we give thanks because the Bible commands us to. In Col 3:15 and Col 3:17 Paul tells us to be thankful and to give thanks. Ps 100:4 tells us to enter the temple with praise and thanks and Ps 107:1 tells us to give thanks to the Lord because He is good and His love endures forever. We also are to give thanks because failing to do so has consequences. In Rom 1:21, Paul says that some “became futile in their thinking”, failed to give thanks to God and their foolish hearts were darkened. In 2 Tim 3:1-7, ungratefulness, among other things, can lead to times of difficulty and can hinder one from having the “knowledge of the truth”. Perhaps most ominously, Deut 28:45-48 shows us that failure to serve the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart can provoke God’s anger and wrath.
An attitude of thanksgiving can keep us focused on God. Even in difficult times, we can give thanks to God because He is using everything, even the things that seem bad to us, for good (Rom 8:28-29, Jam 1:2-4). God deserves our praise and thanks! (Ps 68:19-20).
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Bible tells us that we are to give thanks to God whenever we pray (Col 4:2, Eph 1:16, Phil 4:6). 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 takes this a step further and tells us to give thanks go God in everything, at all times and in all we do. If we maintain an attitude of thankfulness for everything that God has caused or allowed in our lives, we keep our focus on Him. Our focus on gratitude can lead to a greater trust and faith in Him to see us through all of life’s difficulties; as well as keep us humble in our triumphs.
“Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Thank God Daily! Not because He needs to hear our thanks; but because by giving Him thanks in everything, we become more like Christ through developing a dependence on our Father to provide just what we need (Jn 13:3, Phil 4:14-19).
Far too often I fail to take note of the things that I am thankful for. When I fail to make thanksgiving a priority, I start to focus on the things that I am not real happy about. In my mind, the negatives begin to outweigh the positives. Going forward, I want to thank God for a few things every day. I am confident that increasing my thankfulness to God will produce greater joy in my life and over time produce an attitude of thanks that increasingly encompasses my daily thoughts and actions.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you”, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart
A few things that I am thankful to God for today:
- For giving me life
- For giving me eternal life through His Son
- For loving me beyond my understanding
- For giving me friends who love me, forgive me, and never give up on me
- For having mercy on me
- For showing me His ways
- For daily food
- For giving me times of joy, happiness and laughter
- For sight and hearing
- For hearing my pleas for help in times of trouble
- For comforting me and sending comforters into my life
- For giving me people to love
- When I’m hopeless for giving me hope
- For emotions
- For pain
- For intelligence and knowledge
- For yesterday, today, and tomorrow
- For giving me faith
- For the Green Bay Packers
What are some things that you are thankful for?