Being Thankful or Giving Thanks

Categories: Devotional

What matters most to you, “being thankful” or “giving thanks”? 

Most of us think gratitude or ingratitude is a matter of manners—it is just showing good behavior by saying, “Thank you.” 

But to God, gratitude is anything but good manners. From a biblical point of view, the most important thing about your relationship with God is your gratitude to him. The abundant Christian life is not about being well mannered; it is about giving thanks. Everyone can be thankful—what matters is giving thanks to God.

The Apostle Paul shows us this in Romans 1 when he says that failing to give thanks starts a downward spiral into moral depravity.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…”  And because of not giving thanks, “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…” So, He abandons them and allows them to see what it is like to live in a world without Him. 

Jesus talked about the importance of giving thanks when he healed ten lepers. 

“When Jesus saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.”

“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”

Jesus wants us to know that giving thanks is not an optional extra.

That’s probably why you are reading this instead of something else. You are like one of the ten lepers, giving thanks because God has set you free to live an abundant life in Him.

Today, why not list five things you want to thank God for? Write simple things like the generosity of friends. The list doesn’t have to be earth-shattering; it can include things as simple as “Thank you, Lord, for the ability to swallow.” 

If you do this every day, if you keep a giving thanks journal, new studies in Gratitude Science show you will be happier, exercise more, and sleep better too. 

Now that’s something to celebrate!

Author: Toby Larson

Toby Larson leads Celebration International. He is a husband and father of 5. Whether he's teaching, hitting tennis balls, sailing a Hobie, serving in Asia, skiing on water or snow, Toby is passionate about the love of God and the love of life. Read more ...