So now it’s Thanksgiving week—the time we know we’re supposed to express our thankfulness to God. The Scriptures remind us often of this truth; 1 Thessalonians 5:18, for example, tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
But have you thought about why we should be thankful to God?
I’ve been a follower of Christ for close to 40 years now. As I look through these years, I realize that expressing my thanks to our Heavenly Father may be as powerful as any other discipline of the Christian life.
Being thankful compels me to fix my eyes on God rather than on myself. It humbles me. It lifts my mind off my troubles and anxieties and reminds me that God will always provide for my needs, and that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Being thankful lifts my spirit.
As you approach Thanksgiving, here’s one way to cultivate a thankful heart: Spend time listing God’s blessings in your life. And don't stop until you've listed at least 10-15. The exercise will force you to think creatively about God’s care and provision—even in small things.
For the last few years I've received a Thanksgiving email that Carol Cunningham of Sandy, Utah, sends to family and friends. I worked with Carol and her husband, David, years ago at the publications department of Cru. In her Thanksgiving emails she lists the different ways that God has blessed their family. Here are some samples from her 2010 letter, in which she said she was thankful for:
This year’s Thanksgiving email from Carol is a bit more somber. She and David have faced a number of intense challenges from health and family issues. But in her words you can see the power of thanking and praising God.
In a year of startling and difficult twists and turns, it is more important than ever to stop and consider all the blessings we have experienced. I am so thankful …
GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD
FOR HE IS GOOD, HIS LOVE
Listing God’s blessings in your life forces you to focus on Him, and in the process you catch a glimpse of His love, care, and compassion. This week you might want to take some time to do this as a couple, or as a family. I guarantee you will be encouraged.
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