I walked by the Tennessee River this week, and that alone is a reason to be thankful. But considering the wealth of God’s grace in my life, showing gratitude should be my way of life.
If this is so, and I believe it is, what does a life of gratitude involve? Most certainly it begins with my attitude. Years ago, when I was depressed over a situation in my life, a friend recommended that I take the last minutes before I went to sleep each night to thank God for everything in my life. At first it was difficult. I was too caught up in myself to say “thank you” to God. But as I focused my mind toward the good things God had done for me, the easier it became. Within days my heart softened to see how much God loves me, and my depression melted away.
Gratitude completely changes our perspective of life. The Bible makes a powerful statement about gratitude. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV) Clearly, lack of gratitude will cause us to turn from what is right, thinking we are wiser than God himself. On the other hand, gratitude frees us to see the world in a way that only God can reveal. Until we are grateful to God, our perspective is limited to what we know. But when we are grateful to God, recognizing all good things come from Him, then we will see as we have never seen before, and our gratitude will increase abundantly.
May I recognize every day that the family I love, the life I enjoy, the opportunities I have, any good that I do, the grace I receive, and the hope that encourages me forward, are gifts from God. May we all give thanks to the Lord, for He alone can turn our world from the sin and darkness that blinds so many.
1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 75:1 (ESV) We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 79:13 (ESV) But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
Psalm 105:1 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 142:7 (ESV) Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 145:10 (ESV) All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
Isaiah 12:4 (ESV) And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
Jeremiah 33:11 (ESV) The voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD: “‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.
Luke 17:16 (ESV) He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:17 (ESV) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Revelation 4:9 (ESV) And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
Revelation 11:17 (ESV) saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.