First, it is God’s will for us. People want to know God’s will for their lives, and when people ask about God’s will, they’re typically thinking about what they should do next in a particular area of their lives. But God’s will is, first and foremost, that we learn to give thanks, regardless of the circumstances. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18)
Second, because a grateful heart honors God & honors people. Anytime we thank someone we are honoring them.
Third, because gratitude creates fellowship and always builds deeper relationships between you and other people. Do you want to rebuild your relationship with a friend, with a parent, with a spouse, with people at work, even with people whose path you cross during the week? Whoever you want to feel more connected to, express gratitude to them. Just tell people how grateful you are. A grateful heart brings us all closer together.
Fourth, gratitude develops our faith. Can you thank God when life stinks? That’s the test of whether you’re a shallow Christian or a deep one. Can you thank God even when life stinks? When everything is going wrong? If you’re going through tough times, don’t look at what’s lost. Look at what’s left. No matter how bad things are in my life, there is always, always, the fact that I can be thankful to God just for being God.
God has promised to see me through life’s most difficult situations; to help me out, to strengthen me, to care for me, to do miracles, to answer prayer. He’s always promised that even when things don’t go my way, he can work it out for good in my life. So ultimately, his plan is in action, and it takes a growing faith to recognize that.
Fifth, gratitude serves and raises the value of others. Radical gratitude actually serves others. It becomes a ministry. We’re saved to serve others, and you can have a ministry of appreciation.
If you’ve ever bought a car you know the meaning of the word “depreciation”. The moment you drive that vehicle off the lot it’s worth less than you paid for it. Even if it’s brand new, if you take it back, it’s worth less. Depreciation means to decrease in value.
To appreciate means to “raise the value”. And this is a ministry. When you appreciate your husband, you raise his value. When you appreciate your wife, you raise her value. When you appreciate your kids, you raise their value. When you appreciate your co-workers, you raise their value to you and to the company. When you appreciate your boss, you raise his/her value.
Everybody in our life needs massive doses of encouragement. We all have a need to be affirmed, to be loved, to be appreciated. And so, does everybody else. If you want to be used by God here’s a little secret: affirm everybody. Appreciate everybody. Show gratitude to everybody.
What a great world it would be if we all just oozed gratitude from a full and overflowing grateful heart.