My favorite holiday of the year is by far Thanksgiving! How can you not love a holiday that’s focused around green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and a couch full of family watching football? As is the common tradition in many families, before eating we used to name one thing we were thankful for each year. As I grew up, my list ranged from Nickelodeon to being able to date boys. But I always felt it was so cliché, so forced. I just wanted to get the “thanksgiving” part over so I could dig into my cheesy corn casserole which was getting colder by the thankful person. What was the big deal about being thankful?
Well, after years of “not getting it,” I think I may have found the answer. Thankfulness is such a big deal because it glorifies God and it’s for our good.
1. A Thankful Heart Glorifies God.
Thanksgiving is a way of praising the Lord for all His mighty works and the good things He has done for us. Worshiping God goes hand in hand with thankfulness (2Chron. 5:13; 7:3, Neh. 12; Ps. 7:17, 28:7).
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Ps. 7:17
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Ps. 9:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Ps. 105:1-2
Telling of His goodness is one way we thank Him for being who He is. Thankfulness shows the world how great our God is! It’s one of their only ways to know what He’s all about. The world learns about Christ from what you say and how you act. Not only is thankfulness good for unbelievers but it’s even more beneficial for those who believe in Christ. Regular thanksgiving helps us remember how wonderful our God is! When we stop thanking Him, we start forgetting about His goodness. Thanksgiving not only strengthens our relationship with Christ but it’s also good for our hearts and our relationships with others.
2. A Thankful Heart is Good for Your Health.
Believe it or not, God designed thankfulness to be beneficial for our health. According to Wall Street Journal’s recent article, adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. Have you noticed those who have a “brighter side of things” outlook tend to be happier? That’s because thankfulness brings joy and gladness to our hearts. It helps eradicate worry and refreshes our souls with the peace of God.
For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Isa. 51:3
Knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Cor. 4:14-16
The Lord is at hand;do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
3. A Thankful Heart is Good for Your Relationships.
When things aren’t going well in life or in a relationship one of the best things you can do is look at all the things you can be thankful for. This has done wonders in my marriage. Whenever I’m feeling “neglected” or annoyed by certain habits I think of all the great things my husband does and it makes me appreciate him more and those little annoyances start to seem petty and unimportant. Have you ever noticed how many times Paul says he’s remembers and thanks the Lord for the different churches (1 Cor.1:4; Eph.1:16; Col.1:3; 1 Thess.1:2; 2 Thess.1:3)? It’s obvious those churches weren’t full of perfect people and the letters he wrote them weren’t all happiness and gumdrops but he still found things to be thankful for about them. When you’re thankful, despite your bad circumstances, grace, mercy, and love can abound. Otherwise, bitterness, disagreeableness, and discontent can be harbored far more easily (Rom.1:21).
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Eph. 5:4
Is your job demanding more work of you with no extra pay or incentives? Is one of your best girlfriends experiencing success and recognition while you’re stuck in the background? Are you in a class where you think the professor isn’t grading you fairly? Are you a mom who’s having to stay home with the children while all your friends are out getting their corner offices and having adult conversations while you have only kids as your constant companions? Sometimes there seems to be nothing good about the situation you’re in but no matter the circumstances, God has the key to making it through even the toughest of times. Being thankful…you’ll be shocked at how much it can make you content in your circumstances. When you highlight the good, those seemingly significant annoyances start to become trivial in comparison with the pleasing characteristics you’re choosing to dwell upon.
Rejoice always,pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:16-18
Many times life seems to have dealt us a bad hand but we have so much to be thankful for and it’s all because of our great God! He has given us Christ Jesus so that we can have eternal life and walk with Him even as we’re on this earth. That alone is enough to keep us thankful for a lifetime and yet God blesses us every day with so much more than we deserve.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Cor. 15:57
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Col. 2:6-7
So as life becomes more hectic, more difficult, unfair or stressful, try saying thank you. Take time to remember the Lord and what He does for those He loves. Remember His wondrous deeds and then thank Him. It’s good for you and He deserves it! 🙂
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. Ps. 75:1