Friday, June 23, 2006


“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Thankfulness is humbling. It is acknowledging another over yourself. The opposite of thankfulness is pride, pride that says, “I could have done that,” or, “I deserved whatever you did for me.”

In this post, I want to deal with three facets of thankfulness; why, when, and how.

It doesn’t do any good to try to be thankful if we don’t know why we should be.
It doesn’t do any good to know why, if we don’t know when.
And, it doesn’t do any good to know why and when, if we don’t how.

I'll begin with why:

Why we should be Thankful

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
PSALM 136:1

We should be thankful because something has been done (or someone tried to do something) for us, for our benefit.

We are thankful to God for saving our wretched souls and we should be thankful for all of the blessings that He showers upon us. How many times have we longed for something we didn’t need, or whined about a small ache? Instead, we could have been thankful to God for what we have, thankful that we don’t have any real needs, like good food, clothing, shelter, or clean water. We could have been thankful our pain wasn’t chronic or life threatening. It seems to me, that those who trust in Jesus and have life threatening or chronic aches and pains, live more thankfully aware than we do.

When we should be Thankful

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

We should express our appreciation for someone any time they put forth effort to help us. Especially if we asked them for help.

A sincere “thank you” sends a powerful message, it says, “You're important to me and I want to take time out of my day to tell you.” Not saying “thank you” at the right time, communicates to another that you don’t care about them. Neglecting to say it imparts that only I’m important. Saying it too much steals the meaning of the words, making them empty, and, well... meaningless.

For example, we should (but probably don’t) thank God for our life every day. He didn’t have to let us live another day, we certainly don’t deserve to live another day. Conversely, if we draw the winning card in a game of Solitaire, we shouldn’t necessarily thank God verbally for it. It is just a game and has no bearing on our walk with God. If we’re playing Solitaire instead of doing the chores we are supposed to do, then I certainly wouldn’t thank God. We are taking the meaning from our thank you by presenting it unrighteously.

How we should be Thankful

“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.”
PSALM 116:17

We should thank someone, first of all, by giving a sign of appreciation (e.g. saying, “I thank you.”), and second, by telling them what we appreciate.

Giving a sign of appreciation isn’t doing something to make you “equal” with who you‘re thanking. If we try to make all things equal, we will spend our whole life trying to do things for other people to make up for what they‘ve done for us. Besides, we can never repay Christ for what He has done. So don’t try to “get even”, just accept their help and say, “thank you.”

Tell who you are thanking why! If you don’t, it is fair for them to think you don’t know, or care about, what they’ve done for you, and that your thank you is meaningless courtesies.

Finally, receive thanks gratefully. Don’t refuse it or accuse the giver (it is a gift by the way) of being insincere, that is between them and God. They are trying to thank you for something, accept it graciously!

“Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

~ written by: Zachary of Wholesome Works


the traveler said...

This is a helpful post and a good reminder. I'm reading Humility by C.J. Mahaney and he also speaks of the humbling nature of thankfulness, mentioning specificially the numerous Biblical references to "I thank God always because of you." This is useful, practical advice. I'll be printing this up for future reference. Thanks!

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Excellent post. I have been considering lately how much I thank my parents. Thank You for the great reminder to thank God even for our daily existence.

Kaitlin said...

Yes, thank you Zac. That was a super reminder to be thankful and at the same time, a refresher for thankfulness!

Ryan said...

I have been more aware of thanking people lately, but usually not my parents or God. Thanksgiving truly is a result of humility. I take too much for granted what my parents do for me, and I don't appreciate enough what the Lord Jesus did for me!

Thanks for this reminder to be humbly thankful, Zac.

BrittLeigh said...

Wow, such a good post. A reminder that I needed too! Thanks for the thought and study you put into that.