In a couple days from now our nation, our church and our families will be celebrating Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Holiday gives us the perfect opportunity to transform some of our lives from dissatisfaction to joy and gratitude. Thanksgiving is a good holiday for many of us to turn the corner and become grateful people. God wants nothing more than for us to be people of thanksgiving and gratitude. Psalm 118:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”Now why do you think being a thankful person is so important? Because gratefulness is good for us and there are a many ways being a grateful person can benefit us.
For one, being a grateful person can INCREASE OUR PERSONAL HAPPINESS. Most of us think that our happiness is determined by our circumstances. If I asked you, on a scale of one to ten how happy you are right now, you might say, “Well, I’m about a 2 on the happiness meter because of my circumstances.” We’ve been taught that our happiness is somehow dependent on how well things go for us. But really our happiness is determined by attitude. It is really in how we see things. The apostle Paul wrote these words from prison (yes prison). "Rejoice in the Lord always," he wrote, "and again I say it rejoice." (Philippians 4:4). Paul was happy despite being in prison and how, he learned to thank God in everything he did. It was really his perspective on life. I Thess. 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Sometimes the circumstances of our lives are not always the best. In fact, they may be downright bad, but still, we are to look for something to be thankful for! And there is ALWAYS something positive for which we can be thankful!
We've all heard the saying, "I was discouraged because I had no shoes until I saw a person with no feet". Another benefit of being a grateful person is it can also IMPROVE OUR WITNESS FOR CHRIST. Having a noticeable countenance of thankfulness and joy will certainly make us better witnesses for Christ. When we are thankful, joyful, upbeat people we attract the lost with our spirit of gratitude because the world can be so dark and depressing and ungrateful. Most people are not attracted to gloomy and depressed Christians. But when we are thankful and joyful people we let our light shine brighter in a dark world.
Being a grateful person will also ENHANCE OUR RELATIONSHIPS. Our relationship with Jesus our co-workers, our friends at school our family and gives us a stronger marriage. There is one thing I notice about some married couples. After awhile many of them become ungrateful and unappreciative of their spouses. Over time they take each other for granted. Did you hear about marquee that was in front of a church that said, “Marriage is like a deck of cards, the first year is all hearts and diamonds, after a while you wish you had club and a spade”. Story is told about Thanksgiving and family relationships. One day before Thanksgiving an elderly man in Phoenix called his son in New York and said to him, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough. We’re sick of each other, and so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." Frantic, the son called his older sister, who exploded on the phone. "Like heck they’re getting divorced," she shouted, "I’ll take care of this." She called Phoenix immediately, and said to her father. "You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" The man hung up his phone and turned to his wife. "Okay, honey. The kids are coming for Thanksgiving and paying for their own flights." Just imagine how much better our church relationships would be if we expressed our thanks for each other from time to time. Instead of picking at each other faults so much, what if we just stopped and became grateful for each other.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a grateful heart it will SOLIDFY OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Someone once said that God lives in two places. He lives in heaven and in a humble, grateful heart. Hebrews 12:25 says, “Let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts.” One last thing we can to do to produce a spirit of thanksgiving is to DEVELOP THE DAILY DISCIPLINE OF GIVING THANKS.
In order to be thankful people we need to start to give thanks everyday. Not just once a year on Thanksgiving. We need to discipline ourselves to find something each day that we should be thankful for and express our thanks to God. Perhaps create a journal or a file on our computers where we list the things God has done for us. Call it a praise file. Thanksgiving must become a daily habit. Ephesians 5:19 says, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” Always is the key word. Not just on Thanksgiving. Everyday.