The Importance of Gratefulness

I want to be more thankful. It is easy for my thoughts to be stuck on problems, difficulties, unhappiness, or inconveniences rather than turning those into opportunities for gratitude. When my back hurts, rather than feel sorry for myself, a thankful heart is grateful for all I can do despite chronic back pain. When the day seems extra busy, rather than stress about it, a thankful heart praises God for each thing He sets before me to do. When a family member disappoints me, a thankful heart praises God for that loved one rather than allowing bitterness to creep in.

A thankful heart focuses on the positive and all that God is, does, and gives in our lives while an ungrateful one complains, seeing the negative. A thankful heart puts our minds on things above while ingratitude keeps them on ourselves and often grumbles in the process. 

Consider the following two verses:

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

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:10

What do you see in the verses? There appears to be a huge contrast between thanksgiving and being in the will of God versus murmuring, the opposite of thanksgiving, that leads to destruction. Who do you want to be? I sure know the one I choose. Don’t we as Christian women desire God’s will in our lives? He tells us to give thanks in every thing. On the other hand, we can be complainers, and those who chose that in the Old Testament account were destroyed. 

Then there is a convicting and concerning verse in Romans about being thankful. It goes like this: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). 

Dear Sisters, I believe this is serious, very serious, and I rebuke myself with it as well. We know God, so we must glorify Him as God – continually – and be thankful. When we aren’t thankful, we are complaining against the God of the Universe, and the One Who allows us to call Him, Abba Father. It is pride that takes us down that bad murmuring path, and the outcome is disastrous.

We don’t think of it in those terms, though. We justify and excuse our ingratitude and complaints, if we even consider that we don’t have a thankful heart and should. Maybe we think the complaint is just expressing truth and the way things are. We might deceive ourselves by saying the complaint is not a big deal and doesn’t really matter after all. Or we could say we aren’t ungrateful or complaining, but we are just pointing out areas that need to change (and that could be true and needed sometimes).  

Not only does gratitude keep our thoughts in the right place, but it makes us more pleasant people to live with. You may not even be aware of how depressing negativism is, with lack of thankfulness, to those around it. Don’t you want to bring smiles to your family? 

As we enter a month where we have a national holiday dedicated to thanksgiving, may we as believers be reminded again of the importance of thanksgiving every moment of every day. Challenge yourself to have grateful thoughts in your mind and when ingratitude enters, ask the Lord to help you turn it around.

Here are just a few more verses to help us keep this in the forefront of our minds.

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” ( Ephesians 5:20).

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

Teri Maxwell

P.S. Not long after finishing this Mom’s Corner, Steve and I were exercising in our basement. I saw him doing chin ups. I know how much we both dislike that exercise, and I started to say, “So sorry you are stuck with chin ups today.” I got as far as “So sorry,” when the Mom’s Corner and thankfulness popped into my mind. I dropped the rest of what I planned to say, changing it to something like this, “Wow, Honey, I am so grateful that you are able to do chin ups.” 

There have been several times like that lately where I catch myself in the middle of ingratitude or right after a murmur and then speak out the grateful thoughts instead. Steve told me how much that thrills his heart when he hears that.  

Posted in: Mom's Corner