If you didn’t know already, we are living in challenging times. As I was thinking about the world that we are living in and preparing my heart to celebrate Thanksgiving, I was reminded of one of Paul’s letters that highlighted the state of humanity that we would “see in those days”, and it is an alarming! Take a look at the list in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. If you didn’t notice, in the middle of this list, we see ungrateful/unthankful. You would assume to see most of these other items on this list. However, not all of us would have expected or added ungrateful/unthankful to that list, but there it is, staring us right in the face. Why is it there? Is it a big deal? Deep down, we know it is important to have a thankful heart, but we often don’t cultivate an attitude of thankfulness, especially during difficulty. TODAY, let me share three reasons why possessing a THANKFUL heart is so important!
First, let's start off in the book of Psalms 107:8-9 where it says, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things!” The first thing to take note of is that a thankful heart shapes your outlook and refreshes your soul. Did you know that there are medical studies that show ungratefulness does not just change your outlook, but it reprograms the brain to find only the negative aspects of a situation? We can actually train the brain to only see what is wrong, or how things will fail, leading us down a dark and dreary path. We must address this for your sake and for everyone else around you. This Thanksgiving, be intentional in remembering God’s goodness, His unfailing love, and His many wonderous deeds that He has done on your behalf. Consider this proverb, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” I promise you that your outlook will begin to shift, your soul will be refreshed, and you will see the world in a different light.
The second thing that happens when you have a thankful heart is that you will experience supernatural peace. Have you considered the verses in Philippians 4:6-7? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!” When we bring our anxious requests to God with a thankful heart knowing that He is our help, we experience the thing that we all long for deeply: peace. Not just any peace, but peace that goes way beyond what the situation calls for. In this world, that kind of peace is so vitally important. Today, I pray that you take all your cares to the Lord, trust in Him, and celebrate who He is and experience the sweet peace that comforts the soul!
Finally, a thankful heart opens the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. Consider what the book of Psalms says about intimacy with Christ: Psalms 100:4 says, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name." Psalm 95:2 declares, "Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." As you will see, we are encouraged to come before Him with thanksgiving.
I sure do love my kids, but if I am honest, I would much rather be around those who are thankful for who I am, what I have provided, and how I care for them. It’s easier dealing with those kids that have a thankful heart... any parents out there feel me? Could it be the same way with God? When you come into His presence with a thankful heart, it opens the door to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. He is what we need! He is what satisfies the ache in all of our weary souls, and the door to get there is marked with THANKSGIVING.
As we prepare to celebrate the upcoming holiday with family and friends, let me leave you with one final scripture from Paul’s letter to church at Thessalonica: I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Interesting enough, thankfulness is not just a suggestion for us, so that it will bring about good things in our life. It is a command of the Father that we live with a thankful heart.
Today, if you are struggling in this area, ask the Lord for help, be intentional about finding the good in the world around you, and verbalize to those that need to hear it the most. If you can do this, I can ensure you that the experience around your dinner table will be a vastly different one for those who pull up a seat!