If we have a spirit of gratitude, we will give thanks. Any gratitude that does not turn into thanksgiving is not real gratitude. It may be gladness for having something, or gladness for a certain situation, but it isn’t gratitude unless in turns into thankfulness. I was recently reminded of this truth in Sunday School when one of the other men pointed out that we have not been thankful until we have actually given thanks. Our gratitude and thankfulness for the blessing of God must be shown in our actions. So what are ways we can exercise our gratitude and be thankful?
It’s easy for us to give thanks to God for the gifts He has given us, but our gratitude to Him often does not go beyond our prayers. If you get a great gift, you want to show it to others, regardless of whether they gave you the gift. Our thankfulness to God should be the same. Tell others what blessings God has given you! Tell your friends how God is giving you strength to fight your sin. Tell your coworkers how God provided for you when you thought things were hopeless. Make other people know how great our God is by showing them the powerful things He has done. This is a simple way we can unashamedly point the world to Jesus.
Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in your homes. Parents, teach your children to be thankful for the things you do for them. Take time throughout your day to point out ways they have been blessed by God and tell them to give thanks for it. Adopt the habit of going around the table at dinner time and counting the blessings God has given you. Children, thank your parents for the ways they provide for you – their work is hard, and encouragement from you is powerful.
Take this thankfulness outside of your households to church and to the people you interact with day to day. Thank those who do thankless jobs. Thank the sound guy for his work. Thank the person who makes sure we have clean bathrooms every week. Thank your waiters and waitresses both with your words, and with your tips. Show others that you appreciate the work they do, because it’s likely that not many people do.
Consider the ways and places you aren’t grateful, and make an effort to change. Commit your plans to writing, and then act. Let’s pray as a church that God will give us a spirit of thankfulness. He has blessed us in too many ways to count, and He will bless us in this too if we ask for His strength. Let’s show the world how great our God is through our thankfulness.