by Jenni Graebe, Keller Campus Pastor Wife
So. . . Thanksgiving has come and gone. I don’t know about you, but I feel like that holiday flew by with lightning speed. How can it be December already? Here in the heart of Texas, we’re still living in our shorts and flip flops for crying out loud. We’re daydreaming of sweater weather while our boots and scarves collect dust in the closet.
I love Thanksgiving. The family togetherness, the traditions, the occasional cool breezes slowly giving into fall after a long, hot summer. It’s beautiful. With it comes the reflection of the meaning behind it all…giving thanks.
So what does it mean to give thanks? What does a heart of gratitude look like? Honestly, there is so much goodness to be unearthed in Scripture about giving thanks that we would need a ninety part series to even scratch the surface. For the sake of time, I’d love to share just one thing that God has revealed lately.
Thanks and giving go together.
Hear me out on this one. I know what you’re thinking – of course thanks and giving go together. But wait . . . do we really believe this? Does it actually show up in our lives? Do we actually give our thanks, or is it something we feel randomly? When we look up the word “thanks” in scripture, we find that the majority of the time when the word is used, it is preceded by “give.”
Check it out:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High. Psalm 7:17,NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4,NIV
Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10, NIV
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew. 14:19, NIV
So it’s not just the feeling of thankfulness that counts; the power is in the giving of it. The expressing of thanks. Our thanks awakens as we do something with it. It’s not enough to just be thankful. That’s not quite complete. The expressing of thanks is what allows our hearts to change, our perspective, and even our mood (anyone else?!) In very practical terms, this means getting it out. Let it begin within our hearts, yes, but don’t let it stop short. Express it. Write it down. Say it out loud, or even better, share it. Try it today. When you catch your thoughts drifting towards the negative, turn that train around by finding something to thank God for, and expressing it out loud to Him and someone around you.
Only God knows where these words find you today, sweet friend. Maybe you are in a waiting season… longing for more, for a fresh move of God. Trust Him. Give thanks to Him or His timing, His plan, and the story He is writing for you. Thank Him for all that He has done and all that He has planned. Perhaps the very thing that stands in the way of your new, fresh season in Christ is an expression of gratitude for the one you are currently in. Love and blessings to you, sweet sisters!