A truly thankful spirit will show gratitude when it acknowledges who God is and what He has done for him/her. This gratitude is a heartfelt emotion and it is not dependent upon the response of another person nor the nature of the gift it received.
Ingratitude, on the other hand, begins with a heart that refuses to be satisfied and rejects the Giver as well as His gift – Romans 1:21 – “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Our very lives are a gracious gift from God. There can be no thankfulness except that which is built on this foundation. A spirit of gratitude must be learned, and then passed on to others, especially to those in our own households, by example. Here are some ways we can accomplish this:
- Remember that a grateful person is humble and focused on God, while the ungrateful heart is full of pride and focused on self. Ruth was a beautiful example of such a spirit of gratitude and humility – Ruth 2:10 “Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” Hers was a very gracious response even to a small kindness.
- Never take even the small, ordinary daily blessings for granted – Matthew 6:11 – ” Give us this day our daily bread.”
- Anticipate each day’s blessings from God, and take care that you do not miss out on the subtle, indirect gifts our all-wise and generous Father gives us each and every day – Colossians 4:2 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” At the same time, it is important to remember that not every desire we have is beneficial to us. God, the all-wise, all-knowing Giver knows and sincerely wants only what is best for us. Earnestly think about His plan and priorities for your life, while taking care not to lose sight of the bigger picture because of a tragic but small interruption.
- Remember to thank God even in the midst of adversity and trials – Habakkuk 3:17-19 – “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
- Not only ought we to show our gratitude to God and others regularly, but publicly as well – Psalm 35:18 – “I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.” John 11:41, 42 – “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” We should never take our family and friends for granted.
- Make a record of your blessings and take note also of God’s great faithfulness to you each day.
- And finally, we can pay it forward when we reach out and give to others in the Spirit of Christ – 2 Corinthians 9:12 – “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;”
It is an essential part of a life lived Holy to God to cultivate a grateful spirit and a thankful heart in all things. Of course, it does not come easily, nor does it happen over night. It is an on-going work in each Christ-like person’s life until we go be with Jesus. The woman who is thankful and has a heart full of praise brings joy to her Heavenly Father and glory to His name. An attitude of gratitude will bring to our hearts a host of blessings, while at the same time, make us a means of blessing to others.
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.