When my grandchildren come to visit, I frequently hear, “Thank you, Nana.” Those words may be in reference to a variety of things, like dinner, ice cream, a gift, or a sleepover and a night of fun; but I never grow tired of hearing them. Most of us know the joy of hearing someone say “thank you” to us, but the sad thing is that it may be infrequent. We all like to be appreciated and recognized—but we also know what it feels like to be unappreciated, that awful feeling of being taken for granted.
What does it mean when someone says “thank you”? Expressing thanks may be done just to be polite, but it should flow from a heart of true gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment of the worthiness of a person or what has been done. It should come from a grateful heart. As I consider my own thankfulness, my personal focus is on my many blessings—and the result is that the problems of this world suddenly seem to diminish or pale in comparison as I am refocused on my loving, good, holy Father.
All believers are required to be thankful, no matter what our circumstances are. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NIV). Verse 18 in the NKJV says it this way: In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Why would God expect us to be thankful in all circumstances? The answer brings to mind the word “stewardship.” In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve to be the stewards of all He created. Everything was given to them, they did not own or create it; all the blessings were intended to grow a grateful heart. In this generation, God still expects the same of us. We are stewards of all He has given us. God said, What do you have that you did not receive? (Corinthians 4:7)
Stop for a minute and consider all that God has given you. How does it move you to praise and thank Him? In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul explains the confusion in this world today about thankfulness. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? I believe that the most important thing we can do, to make sure we remember that all our blessings are given to us by our Heavenly Father, is to thank Him. As we are thankful in all our circumstances–good or bad–we are focusing on Him and His power and love. David reminds us in Psalm 107:1, Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Thanking God is a choice. It is and should be a part of your prayer time every day. Paul explains in Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Again, in Colossians 4:2, he urges, Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. In addition to prayer, we can enjoy thanking God in other ways:
- Singing praise songs. Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! (Psalm 100:1)
- Writing daily in a journal the things you are thankful for as you begin your prayer time. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name (Psalm 100:40).
- Keeping a “blessings journal” to record blessings. Reread them and thank the Lord. Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? (2 Samuel 7:18)
- Going through the alphabet using each letter to list things for which I am thankful.
- Thanking Him and praying God’s Word, especially in the Psalms. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms (Psalm 95:2).
Dear Holy Father I am thankful for all my blessings, beginning with my Savior Jesus Christ. I give thanks to You for You are good, Your love endures forever (Psalm 118:29). Forgive me for not being thankful. Help me to remember to count my blessings and remember all You have done. Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever (Revelation 7:12).
In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.