In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Psalm 103:2 

Be thou an example …. of thankfulness!

The happiest people are the most thankful people! We’ve all heard this before; it even sounds cliché. Is it even true? Are the happiest people the most thankful people?

We all want to be happy and many of us are – at different levels. What if we could take our level up a little higher? On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you today? Today, I’m sorry to admit that I began between a six and a seven. Earlier this morning I was probably six, barely, and I think I have passed seven now. For a time this morning, I found myself struggling with what has become my new life and reconciling the fact that there are parts of it that I just don’t like at all and considering that I don’t have options in my life anymore. Did the father of all lies pass by this morning?

What kind of thinking is that? I began to rise out of the doldrums by simply speaking truth to myself. I cannot think truth without reminding myself how many things I have to be thankful for. Life isn’t easy and it isn’t perfect, but it is good.

The ladies in India and I have been talking a lot about gratitude and thankfulness. Some people do seem to be more thankful than others naturally. I said that it seems to be so, but I believe thankfulness is a habit and way of life that develops on purpose and with practice. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic by the strong statement but I believe that thankfulness and Thanksgiving can be a life saving habit.

Being thankful is more than a good thing to be – it is a command. The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:18 that being thankful is God’s will. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

When God tells us to do something and we are obedient blessings follow. I believe a thankful spirit is one of the secret weapons of victorious living. Do you know what you’re thankful for? Could you quickly name 10 things? How about five? During a recent ladies class we went around the room with the determination to very quickly in one or two words just name something we were thankful for and move on to the next person. By the time we reached the third time around the ladies were struggling. It was a wonderful exercise though, because it gave us an opportunity to really think about what we were thankful for. There were several things that I take for granted as things to be thankful for that were never mentioned, yet some of the ladies mentioned things that had not crossed my mind either. Since that exercise I had been more careful to think of things I am thankful for particularly when I’m struggling with something.

How do we approach the Lord? When do we approach him? There are instances when we go before the Lord and we just say,  “Oh Lord, help me I need you right now. Please fix this?” In His love and mercy, He delivers; He answers our prayers according to our request. 

I hope that this is not our standard way to approach God, primarily in an emergency or with a quick thank you at mealtime, when we remember. Think about how we greet a friend. “Hello! It is so good to see you! Thank you for coming by; you look wonderful.” Do we greet our Heavenly Father with the same enthusiasm? Just something to consider. Except for those times when we are in a desperate situation, I would encourage you have to begin prayers with several, perhaps five, statements of gratitude to God for blessing/benefits in our lives.

Psalm 103:2 tells us “bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”

This verse actually reminds us that we should not forget, that we are to remember many things that God has done for us. Who better than Him to hear how thankful we are?

So far we have been reminded that being thankful people is God’s will for our lives and that we should remember the blessings. Obedience has its benefits. It is so with our children and it is more so with our Heavenly Father. Thankfulness has real benefits. Consider a few of them:

  1. Thankfulness increases our faith. As we rejoice in what God has done, we are reminded that he will bless again. We think about how God does never change and recalling these things helped me this morning. God never changes but our circumstances will. 
  2. Being thankful removes feelings of loneliness and rejection; it is looking on the brighter side. Upbeat and happy people are thankful people.
  3. I believe thankfulness will make you more beautiful. Proverbs teaches that a merry heart yields a cheerful countenance. A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: … Proverbs 15:13. A happy face is beautiful; don’t you agree? 
  4. Being thankful makes you kind. Did you ever meet an unthankful, kind person? No. These characteristics cannot be together. 
  5. A thankful, optimistic attitude is more likely to help you push through illness, or bypass it completely. Proverbs 16:24 tells us that pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones. Health to the bones! 

We are entering into a time of year that is supposed to be the happiest of all and yet it is frequently the most dreaded and anxiety ridden time for many people. Start now to develop a thankful mindset and be ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. Celebrate it. Celebrate Thanksgiving. Remember all your benefits. Think on those things that are lovely, pure and of good report.

I am not in the United States right now, but I am sure the lure of the perfect Christmas is everywhere you look. Christmas trees were for sale before I left the country the end of August. Yes. I would call that crazy. Christmas seems to swallow up Thanksgiving but I have purposed to allow Thanksgiving to dominate Christmas by celebrating the season with the spirit of Thanksgiving – beginning now.

I am all for making fun and keeping tradition for children of all ages. As a Christian woman, I think it is my responsibility to be an example. The Thanksgiving holiday is four weeks away and I believe that if we purpose now to become more thankful in our daily lives that the end-of-the-year we will be more joyful and less stress filled. What do you think?

A final thought from author, Robert Caspar Lintner:  Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. I concur. 

Join me in making Thanksgiving a way of life, and not just another national holiday.