Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. -Matthew 15:36 ESV
Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You
always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.’” –John 11:40-42 ESV
I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings, “Your altitude is determined by your attitude,” and “Keep an attitude of gratitude.” No matter our walk of life or where on the globe we hail from, reasonable people understand the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and simply being grateful and thankful.
Researchers across multiple disciplines tout the distinct advantages of practicing the expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the big and the little things in life. Reduced blood pressure, better sleeping habits and quality of sleep, and reduced risk of heart attacks and stroke are but a few of the major medical benefits attributed to practicing a “thankful” lifestyle. Psychologically, grateful people are happier people and also enjoy lower levels of stress.
As I was thinking about the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, considering where I’d spend the day and mentally making plans, I was struck by the importance of the “giving thanks” aspect of the holiday. (Of course, the food, family and fun aspects of the holiday are also important, no doubt!). Those factors aside, we know giving thanks for God’s bountiful blessings is supposed to be the focus. We give thanks to the Father for His blessings and goodness – and who serves as a better example of giving thanks to us than the Son?
In addition to a ministry filled with doing the will of God by healing the sick, cleansing lepers, opening blinded eyes and raising the dead, Jesus’ life was marked by fervent expressions of thanks. Before feeding multitudes, He gave thanks to the Father for His divine provision. Just before demonstrating His power as the resurrection and the life by raising Lazarus from the dead, our Lord gave thanks to the Father for always hearing Him. Imagine how our prayer lives would be transformed if we prayed in full, confident assurance and gratitude of being heard? We have that promise, because the Lord’s eyes are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers (1 Peter 3:12).
As we enter the holiday season, let’s endeavor to transform the season into one of gratitude and thanksgiving. Before we go to sleep at night, let’s review our day and think of at least three things we are grateful for. I challenge you to daily jot those things down. Review them at the end of every week, and watch how your mindset shifts to a better alignment with the plans, purposes and will of God for your life. Take your cues from Jesus, and approach the heavenly Father the way He did: with a heart of thanksgiving! Be Blessed.