•1 Thessalonians 5:16–19
Questions to Consider
•What do you have to be thankful for?
•What causes us to be ungrateful?
•How do you cultivate a grateful heart?
•How does Jesus create gratefulness within us?
Plan of Action
•Listen to positive and uplifting music. It does our soul good and helps cultivate gratitude in our heart. Another thing you might consider is re-reading the Psalms above. Remember the Psalms are songs.
•Make a list of all the things Jesus means to you.
•Express your gratitude. Share with others what you are thankful for.
Every year in the United States we set aside the fourth Thursday in November to give thanks for all our blessings. It is a beautiful day. It is a day to enjoy being together with family. The turkey is carved. There is no need to exchange gifts, because the focus is on all that we have already been given.
Then the next day we scratch, claw, and fight in the shopping malls for all the things we don’t have. We see people trampling over other people in department stores to get the great deal. Have you ever caught the irony of this? One day is all about the things God has poured into our lives. The next day is about all the things we are lacking.
Gratitude is not something that can be manufactured. Setting aside at day to be thankful is not going to automatically make us grateful.
Another trick we use to try to manufacture gratitude is to compare ourselves to others less fortunate. Maybe you have seen this list which has circulated on the internet the last few years:
•If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.
•If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
•If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.
•If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.
•If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all.
Gratitude cannot be manufactured by guilt. We might think that the more we have, the more thankful we will be. But those who are given more are often the least grateful. Those with less are often the most grateful. It is backwards from the way that we think it should be.
In Luke 17:11–19 Jesus heals 10 lepers of their disease. After they are healed, only one returns to thank Jesus for what he had done. You might have thought that all 10 would have been thankful for the incredible gift of healing they received. It’s just not the way that it works.
Gratitude cannot be measured by the amount of blessing poured into our lives. Gratitude is a heart matter. What is in our heart will come out. Is your heart’s desire for Jesus or is your heart’s desire for more stuff? If Jesus is truly our heart’s desire, then we will have all we need and more. Ask Jesus to come and dwell in you richly so you might give him thanks with a grateful heart.