Today I want to press the refresh button on our ‘Journey of Thanksgiving’, and to take a day to reflect on what an amazing thing ‘Giving Thanks’ is. We have been looking at the effect of thanksgiving on our spiritual lives for four months now, looking at how giving thanks can alter our perspective and release our faith in so many different situations.
As I was pondering this it made me think about the fact that the ability to give thanks is, in and of itself, an incredible gift. God has created us with the capacity for gratitude and the creativity to express gratitude to Him in many ways. It is moreover a big key to an intimate, living and happy relationship with the Lord, and it is so simple everyone can do it.
Firstly, giving thanks doesn’t cost us anything, so that everyone can do it rich and poor alike. Sometimes we may have to swallow our pride or lay aside our negativity in some aspect, but that surely is a good thing because pride and negativity don’t mix with faith. Giving thanks to God on the other hand builds a relationship bridge between us like nothing else.
Secondly, anyone of any age can give thanks. I can remember when our children were toddlers, probably one of the first words they ever said was ‘ta’. Giving thanks is so simple it doesn’t require huge brain power or education, not even worldly wisdom. It’s literally a ‘no brainer’ thing to do. But it will help us not to take others and what they do for us for granted. Gratitude prevents us from feeling entitled to the things people do for us in a wrong way, and it does the same for us in all our interactions with our very generous God.
Thirdly, ‘thanks’ is something we can ‘give’ to another person regardless of our status or standing with them and it will enhance any relationship. It’s a powerful bridge builder, and something that we have found to be a key in enriching many a marriage, or family parent/child relationship. In the same way it is something that we can ‘give’ to God freely and often, even though He is the ‘All Powerful and All Sufficient’ one in our relationship.
Fourthly, ‘thanksgiving’ is such a flexible and easy thing to do that it is something that can be done anywhere and at any time. We don’t have to be in a special place, with special people (like a priest or minister). It doesn’t even have to be out loud. We could be on holiday or in hospital, at work or in bed at home. We can thank the Lord literally anywhere and at anytime. I guess there is no excuse then for not doing so!!
These four reasons that came to my mind, are why I think ‘Giving thanks’ is such a brilliant thing,. It is something that is so accessible no matter who we are or where we are. It does however need to be freely given, and our choice to do so is of course paramount. God will never want a coerced thank you from us. A freely given thank you from the heart, will however, I believe, go straight to His.
Over these weeks and months our aim has been to renew our minds and to change our hearts from ingratitude to gratitude, from noticing what is wrong, to seeing all that is good, and to realising what an amazing thing it is to be in relationship with our triune God. So today maybe it’s time to simply thank Him for the gift that being thankful is to us, as it increases our connection and friendship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.