Thanksgiving: Causes for Gratitude
Scripture makes it quite clear, the giving of thanks is a vital accessory to all other aspects of Christian living. First, there must be a heart of gratitude. It takes a heart full of appreciation to acknowledge the bountiful grace of our Heavenly Father. James 1:17 reminds, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (NLT). What can we possibly offer God for His goodness towards us? Nothing less than a life of thankfulness — grateful to God in every way.
Second, we must understand that it is possible to maintain an attitude of gratitude towards God, always, and in every situation. While it is not in our fallen human nature, the new nature, the Christian life is different. One of the great proverbs of our faith is presented in Romans. 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT). God knows the end from the beginning. He has at heart the best interests of each trusting child.
Third, we can be content in the place we are. Paul gives assurance of this when he wrote, “11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” (Philippians 4:11–12, NLT). Having this assurance helps Christians heed the apostle’s words: “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, NLT).
Fourth, is the understanding that every experience in life is working out God’s purpose in us. Each experience is to be received with thanksgiving, as from a wise and loving Father. It is God’s will that we show forth His praises. When we can live with such inner peace, ready for all His perfect will, we will be truly thankful for all that He has accomplished for us in Christ — for rich blessings already received, and for the even richer blessings still to come.
Christians have much for which to be thankful. I have shared four causes for gratitude, but the truth is there are many more reasons a Christian has for being grateful and thankful. Of course, our expressions of thankfulness should not be limited to our heavenly Father. Christians should never take for granted the generosity and kindness of others. It is important we let people know of our appreciation. Sometimes it is our attitude of gratitude that leads others to the saving grace of Christ. Gratitude is like a magnet it draws to us friends, love, and peace. May our lives of thanksgiving draw people to us who need a Savior. May our gratitude be the reason someone else finds Christ Jesus.