It is a long observed tradition – Thanksgiving Day – in which we set aside a time to offer thanks for all of the blessings we have enjoyed. Families gather, feasts are prepared, and the fellowship ensues. Most people would say it is one of our favorite days of the year.
Gratitude is one of the most important responses identified in scripture. In Luke 17, Jesus commended the leper that returned to say “Thank you,” and asked, “Where are the other nine?”
The Psalmist tells us that gratitude is the price of admission into the court of praise.
Gratitude fosters a humble spirit.
Every time I see the ad for the well known, non-profit hospital with the theme “Give thanks,” I want to say to the screen, “To whom?” The truth is, gratitude would be completely unnecessary if we did not have a heavenly Father. An attitude of gratefulness fosters the awareness that there is a God who knows, loves, provides, and protects us – and we are not Him.
Gratitude helps us maintain a healthy perspective.
When we are grateful, it keeps our unmet expectations in check. Sometimes, as selfish people, we can focus on what we don’t have or what didn’t work out the way we wanted and develop a spirit of entitlement. Gratitude reminds us that we are surrounded with blessings in our lives.
Gratitude produces the response of worship in our hearts.
When we begin to focus on giving our thanks to the One who loves us and gave Himself for us, worship soon follows. It really is true – when we enter His gates with Thanksgiving (Psalm 100), we will soon find ourselves at the court of praise.
The next time you struggle with worship – expressing your praise and adoration to Jesus – start listing the blessings He has poured out in your life. Start with your own salvation and then continue from there. It won’t be long before your heart will fill with worship.
Thanksgiving happens once a year.
Thanks”living” is the way a child of God lives every day – the fourth Thursday of November included – and for eternity.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.