Gratefulness should be part of our lifestyle

We are only four days away from thanksgiving holiday in the USA. In 1789, following a proclamation issued by President George Washington, America celebrated its first Day of Thanksgiving to God under its new constitution.

It all started when over 102 Pilgrims left Delft Haven, Holland in July 1620 to Massachusetts seeking for a suitable landing place. After a prayer service, the Pilgrims began building hasty shelters. However, nearly half of them died of sickness and starvation before spring due to New England’s harsh winter. Yet, persevering in prayer, and assisted by helpful Indians, they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer. The grateful Pilgrims then declared a three-day feast to thank God for having enabled them to gather the fruit of their labour, but also celebrate the God who heard their supplications when they prayed.

In this piece today, I want to share with you Biblical ways to express gratitude to God. Our father never gets tired of blessing us—neither does he get tired of hearing our praise. Many of us have exclaimed “Thank you, Lord” following a call to be hired for the job we wanted or for the accident we survived or for some other long awaited promise. But Scripture teaches more about giving our thanks to God; gratefulness becoming our lifestyle.

The Bible in Psalm chapter 92 verse 1 says, “It is good . . . to sing praises to your name, O Most High.” When we lift our praises to God, we should realize the importance of using His name. There is nothing wrong with addressing Him as “God,” but we miss the richness and depth of who He is if we don’t pay attention to the significance of His many names in Scripture. Start with “Jehovah” (“the everlasting,” “the self-existing one”) and “Elohim”(“absolute in faithfulness,” “infinite in power”), and praise Him for what these names indicate. Then, add more of His scriptural names to your devotional times.

Another way we show God appreciation is by singing His praises. I believe God gave us music primarily so we could offer thanks and praise in a form other than the spoken word. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to sing the words of a hymn while our thoughts are somewhere else. When we come together to worship, we should be singing to almighty God with full attention. No believer should be able to stand on Sunday morning and sing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” with a deadpan expression. We’re singing to holy God. How can we act apathetic to the One who paid our sin-debt and gave us eternal life?

You might be thinking, But I can’t even sing. Yes, you can. When you lift your voice to God, you need never worry about anyone’s opinion of your musical abilities. You’re not performing when you worship the Lord with song. You’re expressing gratitude and adoration to your heavenly Father. He’s pleased by your praise, and His is the only opinion that counts. Remember, it’s God who told us to sing praises to His name.

Another way we’re to express gratitude toward God is by walking upright before Him. The Bible specifically tells us in the book of Leviticus chapter 20 verses 7 that we’re to be holy because the Lord is holy. On our own, we would be incapable of holiness. But at the moment of salvation, God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to live the holy life of Christ through us. Therefore, acting saintly is not an action but an attitude of the heart.

One other way we should thank God is by giving generously and cheerfully. The Bible says in 2corrinthians chapter 9 verses 7 that God’s heart is pleased by a cheerful giver. If we’re truly grateful, we will want to share what we have. On the other hand, if we’re self-centred, we will want to keep as much as possible for ourselves. Of course, we cannot mail anything to God, so the only way we can actually give to Him is by being generous to each other. Let us not only memorize passages assuring us He will supply all of our needs and “freely give us all things”. We should also learn to be excited when thanking our loving, sovereign Lord who redeems us, forgives us, provides eternal life, and every single day pours blessings upon us. Let’s not be guilty of what may be the greatest sin of all: indifference and ingratitude toward almighty God. Our Father never gets tired of blessing us—or hearing our praise. Let your thanks to Him overflow!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, lets retain the original gratefulness to God displayed by the Pilgrims and many other founding fathers, and remember that it is to those early and courageous Pilgrims that they owe not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, the “hard-work” ethic, self-reliant communities, a spirit of gratitude and devout religious faith.

The author is a graduate student of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, a Communications Specialist, and a preacher of the Word of God.