Five Reasons We Should Always Choose to be Grateful

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.

What Are You Grateful For?

My last blog post asked “Who are you thankful for”?, and challenged you to take a few minutes to intentionally express your heartfelt gratitude.

In this post I want to ask you a similar question; What are you thankful for this year? Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6). There is a difference in saying “Thank you” and truly being thankful. Heartfelt thanksgiving should flow from a general heart of gratitude. Anyone can focus on the frustrations of life, but gratitude is a choice. People who really understand the heart of God realize we have so much to be grateful.

Some people seem to look for reason to complain. Maybe we should spend more time being grateful than complaining. Maybe we should spend more time presenting our requests to God immersed in a thankful heart instead of being anxious and stressed out. If we all focused on all the reasons, we have to be grateful and allow a thankful heart to dominate our thinking, our lives would have much less stress and anxiety. We should be consciously aware of how blessed we truly are; being grateful affects our entire outlook on life.

Being grateful refocuses your minds and hearts on God’s faithfulness and blessings. It stabilizes our thoughts and emotions in a positive place instead of the slippery slope of negativity. Being consciously aware of all we have to be grateful for makes us more understanding, sensitive, kind, and patient. It also has an on-going deepening effect on our personal relationship with Christ and our spiritual development journey.

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’d be more thankful if…” Have you ever had that kind of thought float through your mind? It would be so much easier to be grateful if my circumstances were better or if my health was better, or if finances were better, or of my relationships were better.

It is so easy to allow our gratitude to be governed by our circumstances and emotions or by what we are unhappy with rather than by all of our blessings. Pick the topic; health, relationships, business, finances, etc. No matter how tough it is for you, there are others enduring far more over-whelming circumstances.

So, let me ask you that question again. What are you thankful for this year? Maybe you should take a few moments to get your head and heart right in the area of gratitude by focusing on all you have rather than on all that frustrates you. Being grateful, choosing to walk through life with a grateful heart and mindset really will change your entire outlook on life.

Who Are You Thankful For?

Who are you thankful for, and how often do you say, “thank you”? We all know that it is polite to say “thank you” after someone says or does something kind for us. But I am I talking more about a proactive “Thank you” where we say thank you intentionally and proactively to someone for the routine role they play in your life.

For example, saying thank you to your children’s school teacher, or volunteer coach, or to the check-out clerk who always has a smile for you, or to a volunteer fireman, or to a solider home on leave, or someone who volunteers at the local food pantry, or your wife preparing supper for the family, and so on.

There are so many things that happen every day that we have a tendency to take for granted. Little things. Routine things. But things that are necessary and appreciated. Many times, we just don’t think about it, other times we think about but fail to follow through. Saying “thank you”, writing a quick thank you note, or in our day and age, sending a thank you email, or text message really does not take much time.  

It doesn’t take long to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” and show your gratitude. PLUS it is much healthier for you than complaining.

Maybe you should take a few moments this week to communicate your gratitude by intentionally speaking or writing words of gratitude and kindness.