Colossians 3:15—the end of this verse is my favorite line in the Bible:
“And be thankful.”
Thanksgiving is a command. This is an imperative statement. It is saying, “And you, be thankful.” I believe we are commanded by God to be thankful.
I often think of thankfulness as thoughtfulness. Thankfulness and thoughtfulness go together. The Word of God tells us to think of others above ourselves. We should in fact think other people are more important than ourselves (see Philippians 2:3–4). But how often do we do that? We fight to get through traffic. We fight to be first in line. We run into the restaurant to cut someone off so maybe we can get seated three minutes before they can. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been passed on the highway only to catch up with the person who almost caused a wreck a few minutes earlier.
I think when we are thoughtful and thinking about someone else deeply—about what they have done for us or the sacrifice they have made—it evokes an overwhelmingly thankful heart. Is it thankfulness or thoughtfulness? Regardless, thoughtfulness is the root of thankfulness every time.
My cousin is on her honeymoon right now. Because I helped her plan her honeymoon, she sent me the sweetest message. She is on the final night of her honeymoon. What is going on in her mind that she would send me a text on the final night of her honeymoon? Really! The two of them were thinking about this trip and how amazing it was, so they began to be thankful for the person who helped them plan it. Here is her message:
It’s our last night. I checked in online. We are freshening up to go to the fire and then the pool. We have had the time of our lives. There have been many times I thought I needed to be pinched because everything is so perfect here. We have laughed endlessly. Thank you for booking our vacation. Thanks to you, we have had the best honeymoon imaginable. I am so thankful to have a great cousin like you. I love you. You are a prayer warrior. The weather has been incredible. God is good. We are sure this trip is a start to a very happy marriage. Thank you.
When we are mindful and thoughtful of others and we consider what they have sacrificed or what they have given, it always results in thanksgiving. The Bible tells us that in the end times, people will be lovers of themselves. They won’t be thankful because when you love yourself more than anybody else, you are not thoughtful of the person next to you.
You cannot do anything about a person who is not thoughtful. But you can do something about you. You can be one who deeply considers the sacrifice of Jesus and what He has given. When we deeply consider what He gave—His body and His blood—and that He was naked on a cross, someone gambled over having His undergarment, and He was marred beyond human likeness for our sins, then we can become thankful to God.
Thank you, Father, that we have life. Thank you, Father, that I’m no longer a slave to sin because You have set me free. I’m no longer under the power of darkness. I’m in the power of light. It’s because of You and Your sacrifice.
Thankfulness always changes the game and your attitude. When you are thankful, you cannot remain anxious or depressed. You can’t stay there.
So here’s the challenge: Open up a journal, a notebook, sticky notes, a chalkboard, or whatever else works for you and compel yourself every day to write down what you are thankful for in the morning, at lunch, and in the afternoon. At the end of the week, I want you to see what has changed, what is different about you. Then share it with us. Come back to this blog post and tell us what is going on in your life.
2 thoughts on “Thankfulness”
Thanks for this reminder! I find that pausing to give thanks really helps me rise above negativity any time it starts creeping in!
Loved how you said that thankfulness changes your attitude. It takes away the anxiety and depression. When you focus on being thankful towards God and reflect upon all that He has blessed you with, it really does fill you with joy and peace.