I love Thanksgiving. The family togetherness, the traditions, the cool breezes of fall after a long, hot summer. With it comes the reflection of the meaning behind it all … giving thanks. But what does it mean to give thanks? What does a heart of gratitude look like? Honestly, there is so much goodness to be unearthed in Scripture about giving thanks that we would need a 90-part series to even scratch the surface. I’d love to share just one thing that God has revealed lately: thanks and giving go together.
Hear me out on this one. I know what you’re thinking–of course thanks and giving go together. But wait, do we really believe this? Does it actually show up in our lives? Do we actually give our thanks, or is it something we feel randomly? When we look up the word “thanks” in scripture, we find the majority of the time it is used, it is preceded by “give.”
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High. Psalm 7:17 NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NIV
Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10 NIV
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19 NIV
So it’s not just the feeling of thankfulness that counts; the power is in the giving of it. The expressing of thanks. Our thanks awakens as we do something with it. It’s not enough just to be thankful. That’s not quite complete. Giving thanks is what allows our heart, perspective, and attitude to change. In very practical terms, this means getting it out. Let it begin within our hearts, yes, but don’t let it stop short. Express it. Write it down. Say it out loud, or even better, share it. Try it today. When you catch your thoughts drifting toward the negative, turn that train around by finding something to thank God for, and expressing it out loud to Him and someone around you.
Only God knows where these words find you today. Maybe you are in a waiting season, longing for a fresh move of God. Trust Him. Give thanks to Him for His timing, His plan, and the story He is writing for you. Thank Him for all that He has done and all that He has planned. Perhaps the very thing that stands in the way of your new, fresh season in Christ is an expression of gratitude for the one you are currently in.