If there is anything the writers of the Bible support, it is being thankful to God for the many ways we have benefited from His gracious hand. Moses sang a song of gratitude for God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 15). Hannah thanked God for answering her prayer for a son (1 Sam 2:1-11). The Psalms are filled with poems of gratitude for deliverance.
Paul’s letters are filled with thanksgiving—one writer argues—more than any other Hellenistic author, pagan or Christian. Notice how he opens some of his letters:
Rom 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.”
1 Cor. 1:4, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you…”
To the Ephesians he writes that he does not “cease giving thanks for you…” (1:16)
Paul also instructs the recipients of many of his letters to be thankful.
1 Thes. 5:18, ‘give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Phil 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Jared Jackson wrote a very helpful article on the subject of Gratitude in his weekly, “Fortify Your Faith.” After discussing some of the useful findings of Robert Emmons, a psychology professor from the University of California, Davis, Jared lists 10 practical tips he things will help us to be more grateful, thus benefiting from some of the findings of Dr. Emmons.
Jared’s first tip, and one I want to focus our attention on is to “Keep a gratitude journal.” He recommends Moleskin notebooks because they come in a variety of sizes and colors, lined and unlined. Any notebook will do. The main idea is to focus our attention on things for which we are thankful.
I have operated under a definition for thankfulness or gratitude for decades that has served me well. Gratitude or thankfulness is “letting others know how you have benefited from them.” The journal will help us focus our attention on the things for which we ought to be grateful. The next step is to let God and others know how we have benefited from them. This is where our “Sonshine Cards” come into play. They are provided by way of convenience to you for jotting down a note of gratitude to someone, or a word of encouragement. You can mail them yourself or hand it in and we will mail it for you. In light of the emphasis on gratitude and thankfulness, I think the potential for good cannot be estimated.
My recommendation is that you obtain a notebook of some kind, and for one month purpose to write at least one thing you are thankful for each day, and then express your gratitude to God in prayer, or jot a note and send it to the one you have benefited from in some way.
For what are you thankful, and to whom are you going to express your gratitude today?