Around this time of year, we’re naturally reminded to examine the attitudes of our hearts and choose gratitude.
We know that gratitude is a choice. When things don’t turn out the way we’ve expected or hoped they would, we must choose to be grateful for the circumstances God has allowed into our lives. When we’re disappointed or angry, we have to make a conscious choice to remember and recite what we’re thankful for unto the Lord. This act of remembering helps to recalibrate our hearts and minds to look towards matters of eternity.
It’s this posture of humility towards the Almighty God of the universe that creates space in our lives for him to work mightily.
I think we all recognize that 2020 has been a year full of opportunities for us to practice cultivating thankfulness, and even for that, I am grateful. I needed it!
But I want us to explore this idea just a little bit further. Because so often, I think we treat thankfulness like it’s a suggestion.
As I’ve studied this, I’ve seen that every time thankfulness or giving thanks is mentioned in scripture, it’s a call to action. The two words used to show this concept are the Hebrew towdah and yadah, both of which are words that represent an active form of worship or even confession.
So we can see, thankfulness is not a suggestion. As the Lord’s people, we are commanded to be grateful!
As with any other command from God, he has good purposes for the instruction he gives. He desires our obedience not because he wants to withhold good things from us, but because he knows that when we follow his way, we will be blessed.
In this case, he knows that our thankfulness precedes joy! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like something is lacking in my relationship with God. Even when I’m “checking all the right boxes” for time spent in the Word and prayer, I can remain more disconnected from him than I'd like to be. I’ve realized that during these seasons, it’s because I’ve consistently disobeyed one of his most basic commands: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Ps. 107:1).
When we give thanks, he gives us a more abundant life! Not necessarily because giving thanks will change our circumstances, but because our souls will be more content. When we rehearse the faithfulness of God in our lives, our attention turns away from striving and into rest in what he has so graciously provided.
So friends, as we kick off this season of celebrating thanksgiving, I want to challenge us: How are we going to remember and recite what the Lord has done in our lives so that we might recalibrate our hearts towards matters of eternity? Giving thanks is a command for both his glory and our own good.
May we remember that no matter what hardships 2020 has brought into our lives, his steadfast love still endures forever.