By Bill McFarland
Some form of the word "thanks"
appears in the English Bible 140 times. Obviously, God's
people are to be known for their thankful hearts. Have you
ever thought about why it is so necessary that we give
thanks to God? It's certainly not because God needs it! The
Scriptures teach that we need to give thanks because of what
gratitude will do for our own lives.
Gratitude can give us the desire to
serve God. Those who genuinely appreciate what the Lord has
done for them gladly obey His will. The apostle Paul, for
example, was so thankful for the Lord's grace and mercy that
he was willing to do anything for the Lord's cause (1 Tim.
1:12). Thankfulness destroys lukewarmness.
Gratitude can give us peace of
mind. Someone said, "it is not the happy people who are
thankful. It is the thankful people who are happy."
Thanksgiving helps us to fix our eyes on the brighter side
and erase the anxiety which stands in the way of peace
(Phil. 4:6-7). The peace of God can rule in hearts which are
thankful (Col. 3:15).
Gratitude can contribute to
spiritual strength. It is not easy to face the temptations
and trials which come our way in life. The inner strength
required to be patient and longsuffering is inevitably
linked to the giving of thanks (Col. 1:11-12). People who
are strong in the faith will be found "abounding in
thanksgiving" (Col. 2:6-7).
Gratitude can increase harmony
among brethren. Thankful people are not as likely to
struggle with envy and hurt feelings. Those who are "giving
thanks in all things," have no trouble submitting themselves
to one another (Eph. 5:20-21). A grateful spirit opens the
heart to others.
Gratitude can keep us from the path
of sin. For example, the 1st chapter of Romans shows how
people sink through uncleanness to vileness and finally
reach the level of a reprobate. Paul says that this tragic
process begins when people are unthankful (Rom. 1:21). A
thankful heart can prevent this sad fall.
No wonder the Scriptures so often
call for the giving of thanks! A sincere spirit of gratitude
is a giant step toward a better life.
- Bill McFarland; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg
church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.