Grateful Before Thanksgiving

When things seem to be souring in the ministry, sometimes it is good to take an objective step back and evaluate the things for which we can be thankful.  Even before November rolls around.  How would you rate the week spiritually for yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10?

What could you do today to ensure a better “grade” for the coming week? Now is the time for resolve to change, not just resolutions. The former is a fixed frame of mind, a determination (Ps. 57:7); the latter can simply be good ideas, goals or promises made to ourselves as we lean upon our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). David said “I will sing and give praise” in the passage mentioned above. A thankful heart is fundamental to a living faith and victorious Christian walk:

1. A grateful person is a humble person, while ingratitude reveals a proud heart.

  •  A grateful person feels a great sense of unworthiness–“I have so much more than I deserve.” But the ungrateful person feels, “I deserve so much more than I have.”
  •  Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grows. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher

2. A grateful heart is a full heart, while an unthankful heart is an empty one.

3. People with grateful hearts are easily contented, while ungrateful people are subject to bitterness and discontent.

  • Thanksgiving has great curative power. The heart that is constantly overflowing with gratitude will be safe from those attacks of resentfulness and gloom that bother so many religious persons. A.W. Tozer
  • Thanksgiving is a proper answer to dark and disquieting thoughts, and may be an effectual means to silence. them. Songs of praise are sovereign cordials to drooping souls, and will help to cure melancholy. When we have no other answer to the suggestions of grief and fear, we may have recourse to this, “I thank thee, O Father.” Matthew Henry
  •  Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic. John Henry Jowett

4. A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an unthankful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining.

  • Matthew Henry, after being robbed, said, “Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although the took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed!”

5. Thankful people are refreshing, life-giving springs, while unthankful people pull others down with them into the stagnant pools of their selfish, demanding, miserable ways.

 From time to time, I find it helpful to stop and take stock of my “gratitude accounts.” I ask myself:

  •  Is there any circumstance in my life for which I have never given thanks?
  •  Is there some blessing I have received for which I have not expressed gratitude?
  •  Is there an individual (family member, friend, acquaintance, associate, teacher, pastor) who has in some way touched or benefited my life, to whom I have not yet paid my debt by saying, “Thank you”? ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss

6. To give thanks to Him for all things, is, indeed, a very difficult duty; for it includes giving thanks for trials of all kinds; for suffering and pain; for reproaches; for loneliness. Yet those who have learned submission will not find it a hard duty. Priscilla Maurice

If there are events from this past year about which you have struggled, felt resentful, or not embraced as being from the hand of your heavenly Father, remember that His mercies are new every morning, and His faithfulness is great. Go to Him now and review last week, and then lay next week at His feet with a thankful heart that, “tomorrow [and the rest of today!] is fresh, with no mistakes in it”.

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