The Gift of a Thankful Heart

I recently read a story about two men who were walking through a field.

All of a sudden they saw a bull.

The bull looked at them angrily, and started charging them.

They began running.

The one man said to the other, “John, throw up a prayer for us.”

John replied, “I can’t, I have never prayed in public.”

His friend responded, “The bull is catching up, you have to pray.”

“All right” said John, “I will pray the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the dinner table.”

Then John preceded to pray, “O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”

I know it is a cheesy story, but it works right?

For many of us we verbalize our thankfulness before meals.

And it becomes routine.

Clearly for the gentleman in this story the prayer was routine; something he had heard over and over again from his father that eventually lost all meaning.

He wasn’t thinking about the words he said, he was just saying them.

If we were honest we would agree that we do the same thing.

This is why Thanksgiving is an important time.

It is not just about the turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and everything else.

It gives us a chance to remember.

To remember, how God has blessed us.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Everything you have that is good comes from God.

What in your life is good?

Things as important as family, friends, and basic needs.

Things as unimportant as Coffee to drink in the morning (But lets not joke, coffee is very important).

The point is that everything good is from God.

The smallest thing that is good in our life to the greatest thing that is good in our life.

And even the times in our life when things aren’t good.

Maybe you are in that season now.

We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” 

Why give thanks in all circumstances?

Because whatever is upon us God is still God.

God is still good.

God is still loving.

God is still gracious.

When we have a thankful heart we are given a gift.

A gift to be centered on the God who sustains us, even through difficulty.

So how do we have a thankful heart?

We live as if every good gift comes from God. 

This sounds easy. But we are conditioned away from this reality.

Sometimes we buy into the lie that we earned it.

When in reality God has blessed us.

God has in fact blessed us far beyond what we could ever earn.

And so we live thankful to God for the blessings he showers upon us.

We praise God in the valleys and on the mountain tops. 

God is God whether we are in a valley or on a mountain top.

Our circumstance should not determine our thankfulness.

Jesus died for us.

This is a gift we do not deserve.

No valley should separate us from how thankful we are for the grace offered through Jesus’ sacrifice.

We recognize what is at stake if we are not thankful.

Romans 1:21 reads, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

They didn’t give God glory.

Nor did they give him thanks.

Their foolish hearts were darkened.

They, can quickly become us.

When we fail to give thanks, we open ourselves up to pride.

Pride always darkens our heart.

Pride always pulls us away from our creator.

Lets take full advantage of a season where thankfulness is amplified.

But even more, lets begin to develop hearts that do not need a season to be thankful for the many blessings we have.

May you come to know that every good gift is from the Father of the heavenly lights.

May you find thankfulness in every circumstance, whether in the valley or on the mountain.

May your heart be on guard against all pride as you remain thankful.

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