As children most of us learned to say “please” and “thank you.” (Apparently it doesn’t come naturally.) To dust off a rather quaint phrase, it’s good manners.
To be thankful is to be “conscious of benefit received.” Genuine gratitude springs from the awareness of blessings, gifts, or benefits received.
Gratitude presumes, of course, a giver.
One reason to be thankful is to honor the Giver.
Gratitude is also popular. Studies show that those who approach life with a spirit of thanksgiving are happier and less stressed. (Check out this L.A. Times article on “The Benefits of Gratitude” by Mary MacVean for a good discussion of the subject.)
Another reason to be thankful is for one’s own benefit and happiness.
I detect a subtle shift in our cultural attitudes toward gratitude.
As we grasp the benefits of gratitude, which I believe are legitimate, saying “thank you” can become a tool for one’s own happiness and self-empowerment.
Should thanksgiving be an expression of honor and appreciation aimed at a benefactor or a personal discipline designed to create a happier and healthier life?
I suggest that gratitude rightly motivated to honor the Giver will also unfailingly result in a happier and healthier life. That’s the way God designed the world, and the aforementioned studies prove it. (This phenomenon is called “common grace.” It refers to truths woven into the fabric of life on this earth that everyone experiences, even those who don’t acknowledge a Giver.)
As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, ask yourself to whom you are grateful and why. If you honor the Giver with a thankful heart, you will be experience the benefits of gratitude in your own life.
I wish you abundant blessings from the gracious hand of God, the great Giver.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15
Great topic! I love how you explained why we need to be thankful, Judy. Psalm 136: 1 is a wonderful verse that reminds us we always have something to be thankful for no matter what situation we are in. That’s our amazing God and His unfailing love!
Hi Judy, what a very sensitive post to the Zeitgeist of the times! I think being thankful and gratitude to the Giver/Provider is the most fundamental form of gratitude one should possess but as you say more and more people thanks to the rise of schools of thought such as positive psychology, use gratitude and thankfulness as a means of attracting good things and living an abundant life. Is this bad? Not necessarily, unless it takes you away from the true source of all good things and abundance. As you have so well said, “gratitude rightly motivated to honor the Giver will also unfailingly result in a happier and healthier life”. More and more I have been experiencing this in my life and as a consequence God has made me a lot more genuinely thankful and grateful without any conscious effort on my part, I know the effects are real because I know where I have come from. I feel more alive and blessed like I’m seeing the world through new eyes.
Thank you for sharing this, I will share on FB too xxx
So nice to hear from you Florence! I love your observation that we ‘feel more alive and blessed like (we’re) seeing the world through new eyes’ when we live in genuine gratitude to God. Thanks for your thoughts and for passing this along! Blessings!
I like the idea of self-empowerment stemming from the act of saying thank you… Great thoughts.
It’s so like God to bless us with joy when we bless him by acknowledging his gifts and thanking him, isn’t it? We can’t out-give God. Have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Wonderful, Judy! And I love the phrase/concept, “common grace”–similar to common courtesy perhaps, but higher (to my way of thinking). I’ve been practicing the attitude of gratitude for God’s miraculous grace in my life, for just over a year and a half–and it’s made a great difference in my levels of joy vs. stress. It seems that the more thankfulness I offer, the more blessings/benefits I accrue–and the more we look for things to be thankful about, the more we’re apt to see. I heard someone say, “if you’re always wanting more, you’ll never have enough; but if you view yourself as abundantly blessed, you’ll never run short of God’s supply–and always have plenty to share”. Works for me! God bless you and your family to overflowing–have a blessed Thanksgiving–love, sis Caddo
Thanksgiving blessings to you, Caddo! May God continue to bless you mightily!
Thanks Judy for the teaching. We need to be reminded often about the value of being thankful.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Larry!