In 1914 Thomas Edison’s laboratory caught on fire. When he realized how big the blaze was, Edison sent word to his family and friends, “Get down here quick. You may never again see anything like this!”
Edison lost 2 million dollars in equipment and the record of a life’s work. Walking through the rubble with his son Charles, he said, “There’s a great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
How many would be able to respond with gratitude after such loss? Giving thanks to God, Edison started anew. Many great inventions came after his laboratory burned.
How can we reap the benefits of a thankful heart all year long?
Planting Seeds of Gratitude
We each face a decision about what to plant in our heart. “We can decide to be grateful or to be bitter” (Henry Nouwen). The wise man chooses to plant seeds of gratitude: In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Being thankful is something all Christians are responsible to do.
We can’t command our feelings, but we can command our will. We can determine to say “thank You, Lord” even when we don’t feel like it. And, our emotions will follow our actions.
Cultivating a Thankful Heart
When you plant seeds of thanksgiving in your heart, the water of God’s Word will keep them alive. So, give thanks always for all things to God the Father (Ephesians 5:20) and enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). Whenever we come before God, we are always to come with a grateful heart.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Think about the things God has done for you. List the blessings of God in your life. Then, imagine if each thing were taken away from you. What would your life be like? Now mentally put each person and thing back on your list and be thankful.
No matter what our circumstance, we can find a reason to be thankful. You may find yourself in a terrible family or work situation. Give thanks in the midst of your problems.
Choose to be thankful wherever you are—even a lion’s den. Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17). Pray and sing. Say thank you to God in prayer. Tell others of His goodness. Serve God with a cheerful heart and thankful attitude.
The Fruit of Thanksgiving
Show me a person who is thankful, and I’ll show you a person who can endure the most difficult situation in life and still find joy. Who is the greatest saint in the world? ... The one who is always thankful to God, who receives everything as an expression of God’s goodness, and has a heart ready to praise God for everything he gets. That is a saint (William Law).
Paul writes that we’re to speak to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…giving thanks always (Ephesians 5:19-20). A spirit of gratitude not only enhances our relationship with our heavenly Father, it improves the way we relate and talk to one another.
Someone asked a farmer famous for raising a superior strain of wheat why he let his competitors benefit from his research. “Aren’t you afraid their wheat will be as good as yours?” The farmer replied that when his neighbors grew proper grain and their grain pollinated his crops, he reaped the benefits. Thanksgiving works that way. When we give it freely to God or to others, we always have a residual benefit that comes back to us.
Sowing and Reaping
You reap what you sow the Bible says clearly. If you plant seeds of gratitude, you can expect an abundant harvest of God’s blessings. The opposite is also true. Ingratitude has no friends.
Don’t allow an ungrateful spirit to rob you of life’s richness. Thank God daily for who He is, and what He has done for you. Let this attitude of gratitude grow and become stronger through your praise and thanksgiving—and you will yield an abundant harvest of blessing.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif.,
For more information on Turning Point, go to
When Wayne was just six years old, his father built an ice rink in the family’s backyard in Ontario, Canada. Why? “It was for self-preservation,” his father, Walter, said. “I got sick of taking him to the park and sitting there for hours freezing to death.” All his son wanted to do was play ice hockey. He had been skating and playing hockey since the age of two, and by the time he was six he was competing in youth leagues far above his age group. When he retired from his professional career in 1999 at age thirty-eight, “The Great One” was considered the greatest hockey player ever. Wayne Gretzky knew from the beginning that hockey was his life’s calling.
Celebrated athletes like Wayne Gretzky understand the connection between purpose and passion. The deeper the conviction about purpose in life, the deeper the passion to excel. But I’m not just talking about athletes. Life is filled with people who are passionately committed to fulfilling what they know is God’s purpose for their life.Fast Life! Strong Faith!
In 1982, an Austrian toothpaste salesman on a marketing junket in Southeast Asia was suffering from jet lag in Thailand. There, he discovered that a drink called Krating (“bull”) Daeng (“red”) gave him a fresh shot of energy. He was so impressed with the drink’s effects that, in 1984, he formed a partnership with the drink’s Thai founder to “Westernize” the product in terms of taste preferences. Thus was born Red Bull Energy Drink—the first product in what has become a huge new category. Red Bull was introduced in Austria in 1987, other international markets in 1992, the United States (California) in 1997, and the Middle East in 2000.Notice Your Odometer Reading Indicates:
Odometer comes from the Greek words hodos, meaning “path,” and metron, meaning “measure.” It’s a device to measure the distance traveled. The idea dates from Alexander the Great, who wanted to know how much of the world he had conquered. He measured the routes, and historians marvel at how his soldiers managed to calibrate the distances with precision.
The story of Joseph reaches its emotional peak in the forty-fifth chapter of Genesis, when Joseph and his brothers are finally reunited and reconciled. Dr. David Jeremiah guides us through this moving moment in Bible history, filled with valuable insights we can apply to our lives today.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah