When was the last time you said, “Thank you”?
The other day I found myself standing in our kitchen getting frustrated. Not at anyone or anything, except my circumstances. I was dealing with sickness, and I was frustrated. Mad, actually. I didn’t have time for this sickness. I had things to do, like cook dinner and deal with the plethora of dishes piled in the sink.
As I browned the meat on the stove, I felt the Lord gently whisper, “You are standing on your own two feet, cooking dinner from the food in your home, and making it for the family I’ve blessed you with.”
And it wrecked me. I had been taking for granted all the wonderful things the Lord had done for me and hyper-focused on the one circumstance I didn’t like.
Immediately I started thanking the Lord for the things He had given us. I started right where I was, in the kitchen. From standing on my feet to the eggs on our counter, to the shelter from the cold wind, to the electricity we had to cook by. As I cooked dinner, the list of all that I was thankful for rumbled off of my lips.
And you know what happened? The simple act of saying, “thank you,” completely changed my attitude and my perspective. No longer was my mind clouded with complaining, but I was smiling from recounting the Lord’s faithfulness and generosity.
Thankfulness isn’t a just good idea; it’s what the Lord desires for us.
Why Does Thankfulness Matter?
Research shows people who practice being thankful are healthier, sleep better, have better performance at work, and have more meaningful relationships.
But the research community isn’t the only expert on the power of gratitude. The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness as well. Thankfulness isn’t a just good idea; it’s what the Lord desires for us to do. Need proof?
- “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
- “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
- “...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).
- “...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
Small Beginnings to Big Changes
If you’re like me, it is easy to get caught up in daily demands and routines and forget to pause. While thankfulness is something I want to embody, knowing how/where to start can feel overwhelming.
Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” So, let’s start small, right where we are.
Four easy ways to grow in gratitude:
- As you brush your teeth, take a moment and tell the Lord one thing you are thankful for — even if you start with being thankful you have teeth to brush! (Remember, small beginnings.)
- Make a note in your phone or carry a small journal, and begin listing out things you are thankful for. When worry, frustration, or anger start to fill your mind, be intentional to find at least one thing you can thank God for.
- Tell somebody you’re thankful for them. You may never know the power of your thankfulness when expressed to someone else. Gratitude is good, but expressing it to others is great!
- When you lay your head on your pillow, take a moment and tell the Lord at least one thing from the day you are thankful for.
Thankfulness is the gateway to walking in the joy of the Lord. As we take these small steps toward living a life of thankfulness, we will be changed. And so will everyone around us. What better way to be imitators of our Lord than to show and speak thankfulness in love to others.