Thoughts On Gratitude from Two Southern Girls
November 25, 2015
What a wonderful day Turkey Outreach was with 1,250 volunteers helping provide 6,570 turkey meals at 41 locations. Trust us, it did not start out that way! We were both here when Turkey Outreach was first started in 1995, and it has been wonderful to see how the generosity of MBCers over the years has helped so many, many people with not only food, but the Gospel.
The focus of the Thanksgiving season is gratitude and one of the things we know is that gratitude begets a spirit of generosity. We have certainly seen that lived out through Turkey Outreach.
Both of us grew up in the South, and we were surrounded by many warm and seemingly grateful people who thought that saying “Thank you!” was more important than almost anything. We were often in trouble for not saying “Thank you” fast enough. (Southern mommas are tough!) There are many books written today on how to achieve happiness, and invariably they always mention gratitude as one of the key ingredients.
It can be easy to say words of gratitude without really having a heart of gratitude, but God is very interested in our hearts.
God still wants our obedience and there are plenty of Scriptures that tell us to practice giving thanks. Philippians 4:6 tells us, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Colossians 3:15 tells us to, "Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts...and be thankful." Ephesians 5:20 says to, "give thanks always." And on, and on the verses go. As Christians we know that gratitude has its origin with God.
It is in the practice of obedience that God changes hearts.
John Piper puts it well in his book A Godward Life:
“Remembering our dependence on past mercies kindles gratitude. Gratitude is past oriented dependence; faith is future-oriented dependence. Both forms of dependence are humble, self-forgetting and God-exalting. If we do not believe that we are deeply dependent on God for all that we have or hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude and faith runs dry.”
So how can you remember God’s mercies and practice faithful obedience? Here are a couple of ideas for this Thanksgiving:
- Make a list of all those past mercies you have seen in your life. You might just find you are happier for having done so, and God will be pleased.
- Consider using Psalm 100 to express gratitude to our Maker who first gave to us. I love how Psalm 100 gives many directives that can help us all live with a grateful perspective.
- Make a glad sound to the Lord
- Give worship to the Lord with joy
- Come before Him with a song
- Be certain that the Lord is God
- Come into his doors with joy, and into his house with praise
- [Remember] for the Lord is good...His mercy is never-ending...His faith is unchanging
We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, looking over the past with gratefulness and toward the future with hope!