(I’ve been a fan of Sara Groves’ music for years. Now I’m a fan of her.)
Have you ever noticed how some people seem more grateful than others? What’s the difference? Why are some people thankful and others not? What about you? Would others describe you as a thankful person? I think that a life of thanksgiving (or “thanksliving”) is a choice. But I’m also convinced that the more vibrant your walk with Christ, the more grateful you are. When you align yourself and, therefore your life, up with God’s perspective on life (that is, who you are and who He is), you will live a life of gratitude. To the degree that we are not aligned to God’s Way, we become less grateful. It’s possible to choose a life of gratitude but you must first acknowledge a few things…
1. Acknowledge what you have.
The Bible says over and over again to “remember” what God has done for you. The old hymn says, “Count your many blessings- name them one by one… count your many blessings, see what God has done.” Health, home, church, family, friends, job, trials. Are you content with what you have? Or do you always tend to want more? Be grateful for what you have. Why are Americans so seemingly ungrateful? How can such a materialistic people learn to be grateful? What’s the solution?
2. Acknowledge why you have.
- Not by your own power. “He has made us and we are His.” Psalm 100:3 Everything you have is from God so “enter His courts with thanksgiving- give thanks to Him.”
- Not by your own position. Your position of power or wealth was not of your own doing. We see this in the book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes.” Every person of any position has been put there by God. If you have had any success vocationally or financially it’s only because of God. God is the one who gives and takes away. Whatever position you have has been given to you by God.
- Not by your own person. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’, says the Lord almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 Why do some people have a sense of entitlement? They seem to think the world owes them something, that they deserve what they want. Others are so humble and so grateful when they receive even something small.
3. Acknowledge how you have.
- You are blessed. “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and He adds no trouble to it.” Proverbs 10:22 Wealth brings great trouble when it comes through ungodly means.
- You are loved. Everything we have is an act of grace from God. Romans 5:8 says “while we were sinners Christ died for us.” 1 John 4:10 says, it’s not that we loved God but that He first loved us. And verse 19 says we can now love others in the same way.
- You are responsible. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says, those who are given a trust must be found faithful.” You are a steward of all that you have. How do I steward all that I have been given? I am responsible for the grace that I have received from God.
4. Acknowledge who you have.
- Family- express thanks to your family.
- Friends- let a friend know how grateful you are to have him/her in your life.
- Others- people in your life- your brothers and sisters in Christ. In the end, life is really about who you have, not what you have. If you want friends, be a friend.
Remember, gratitude is always centered on Christ.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
All of God’s blessings begin with Jesus. It’s why Thanksgiving is clearly a believers’ holiday. It reminds me of the atheist who suddenly felt profoundly grateful and realized he had no one to thank. We know who to thank. Our gratitude is ultimately focused on a Person. So, let’s thank Him!