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Articles

Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Being grateful is one of life’s foundational lessons. Merely having a sense of appreciation toward those who benefit us is not enough. Thankfulness must be expressed. No one blesses us more than God: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). How do we properly express to Him our gratitude? The Bible points to four ways.

Saying
Giving thanks begins with simply saying thank you. We might do that in a prayer (1 Timothy 1:2) or in a hymn, “singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). Make no mistake, neglecting worship is a sure sign of ingratitude! And for God to be honored, worship must be done as He directs. In the Old Testament era, people worshiped by bringing sacrifices. God insisted, “When you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted” (Leviticus 22:29).

Speaking
God delivered King Hezekiah from a terminal illness. Hezekiah prayed in thanksgiving, “It is the living who give thanks to You, as I do today; a father tells his sons about Your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:19). Speaking to others about God’s gracious blessings, inviting them to share in them, is another expression of thanksgiving. As Hezekiah noted, that begins with teaching our children. It certainly does not end there. Hearts full of gratitude are anxious to spread the gospel to all who will listen.

Serving
Saying we are grateful is hollow if we don’t act like we are. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28). What is that service? Our very lives. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). Jesus died for us. Anything less than living for Him is an ungrateful response (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Sharing
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for which such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16). One component of serving God is sharing with others, not just the gospel but helping provide for their needs. If we are grateful for God’s generosity—we completely depend on it— surely we will mimic that in our lives.

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