Developing a Spirit of Thankfulness Day 2 – Where to Start
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1, ESV)
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20, ESV)
It’s that time of year again—the time in which we find ourselves seated around the table for Thanksgiving, and we begin to reflect on our own unique blessings. Many families carry out the tradition of sharing their individual thanksgivings one by one. This is a great tradition to incorporate into our holiday as it prompts us to reflect on what God has blessed us with. But this tradition should not just be something for a special day of the year; it should be incorporated into our everyday lives, especially as believers.
I grew up in a family where being thankful, and expressing it, was taught and expected. We always thanked our parents for meals out, special gifts, and kind or caring gestures. We thanked them for giving us a good education, a car to drive and vacations. This was not something that just happened for us because we were naturally gracious people (quite the opposite); it was taught by example. As young children, we not only heard our mom say “thank you,” but she also taught us to do the same. Looking back now, I’m so glad I had parents that taught me to be a thankful person; I think it develops in us an attitude of appreciation that is countercultural.
As a parent of young adults myself, I taught my own kids to be thankful as well. In our world of entitlement, it’s so refreshing to be thanked and appreciated for what we provide for others. I also believe this attitude can carry over into our relationship with God. Sadly, we take Him for granted far too often and fail to thank Him for our many blessings and for giving His Son for us on the cross—I know that’s true of me. But there really shouldn’t be a day that goes by that I don’t thank Him for all He’s done for me.
As we approach the holiday once again, maybe we could be reminded of all we should be thankful for: for love and clothing and food and shelter; for safety and health and job security; for salvation, the presence of His Spirit always with us, and the open invitation to communicate directly with the Lord; for our church family, for loved ones, for grace, and for joy and laughter. And then, may each of us be willing to encourage this same spirit of gratefulness in our own homes and families.
Being grateful people should be a part of our Christian testimony. When we recognize that our blessings are from His gracious hand, and then take time to thank Him for them, it changes us and deepens our relationship with our heavenly Father. Our thankful spirit will stand out in a world where everyone wants more and expects more. Our world has an increasing problem with entitlement, and, quite frankly, it’s a very unattractive trait—even more so for a child of God.
Our prayer for this Thanksgiving is that we all might become more grateful for our blessings, not just in the holiday season but in every day going forward. Just as we read in Scripture that Jesus thanked the Father, we want to learn from Him and adopt His ways as our own. Let us thank one another more often, and then let us not fail to turn our thanksgivings heavenward to our generous Father. He has blessed us in so many ways!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100:4, ESV)