There are many different things that come to mind when thinking about being thankful, giving thanks, and having thankfulness. When I think about thankfulness I tend to reflect on Paul’s first letter to the church of the Thessalonians. Specifically in chapter 5 at the end of his letter he tells his readers to “16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV). I feel that I am consistently reflecting upon this passage to remind myself how I should be living.
At the beginning and end of the epistles we read a heart of thankfulness. I think that when we are beginning conversations, texts, letters, etc… we should have this same mind of thankfulness. If we could have this same heart and mind it could change our life to be more like Christ. Furthermore, I believe it is clear from the scriptures that Paul along with others, understood that above all things we should start with a heart and mind of thankfulness for everything we do or are hoping to do for the Kingdom of God.
When we begin to respond to life in a way that is thankful for everything God has given us, the Holy Spirit begins to change our attitude of entitlement to a lifestyle of thanksgiving.
How many things in our lives do we feel we are entitled to because of what the world tells us? I do not believe that God ever intended it to be this way. The heart and mind of someone who wants to leave all and follow Christ is someone who will take daily steps to change their heart and mind to that of someone like Paul who was thankful in all circumstances because his heart and mind was consistently focused on doing Kingdom work no matter what circumstances came his way.
What ways in our own lives can we begin to make thankfulness a lifestyle instead of a once a year holiday?
1st Chronicles 16:8 (NKJV) 8 Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 79:13 (NKJV) 13So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations.
Romans 14:5-9 (NKJV) 5One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.