I have a friend who is my ultimate example in the “giving thanks” department since she consistently expresses a grateful, thankful heart no matter what she is experiencing.
Since we have been friends for over thirty years, I’ve watched her react to good times…bad times…and everything in between times.
I also remember that she passed her habit of expressing a grateful spirit to her children…and it showed. My friend’s five children remain to this day some of the most thankful young adults I know. And it still shows.
As I sit reflecting upon how my friend has influenced my life, I recognize that she has taught me many lessons that have challenged my thinking, challenged my way of living, and challenged my default response mode.
Out of everything I’ve learned from her…the supreme lesson of all has been to give thanks in everything…
“Give thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
I like how Puritan pastor Richard Baxter says it,
Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can…Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart.
My friend is right.
Baxter is right.
The more I resolve to express (and internalize) a thankful heart (no matter what)…the more it (the thankful heart) transforms my attitude (and my circumstances.) Which in turn transforms the ugliest situation into something of rare beauty…and that (the ability to transform trial into triumph) is in and of itself perhaps the most spectacular transformation of all.
So the question is…for what (and for whom) can I give thanks today (right now?)
And, how can I express that thanks (in practical, tangible ways) so that others can be encouraged too?
Gratitude is not the quiet game. It begs to be expressed, both to God and to others. “Silent gratitude,” Gladys Berthe Stern said, “isn’t much use to anyone.”