As we prepare to celebrate my daughter Regina’s birthday, I can’t help but think what an amazing blessing she is. She came to us rather suddenly, and while we were not really planning on being parents to a 2nd child, I firmly believe that God had this in His plan from all eternity. We are truly grateful!
As I continue to reflect on the “more” that she brings to us, I realize that sometimes our culture is looking for a different type of “more” that won’t bring the blessings a child brings.
Despite the highest standard of living in the history of humanity, we seem driven by an insatiable desire for more, better and faster. Just when we should feel most satisfied, we find ourselves bored and disillusioned. The problem is not that things are so bad, but that we have lost a gift called gratitude.
The Scriptures urge believers to maintain a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances. We do so not as a gift to God, but as a gift from God. He doesn’t need our thanks, but we desperately need reminders that we are created beings dependent upon our Maker. Giving thanks realigns our hearts with the apostle Paul’s expression of praise in his letter to the Romans: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (11:36). Acknowledging God as the Source of all things frees us from the lie that we don’t need Him.
Unfortunately, we are born with a propensity toward greed, envy and other vices that foster discontent. Parents can help their children guard against that propensity by encouraging gratitude and explaining that we give thanks because it …
- Makes us rich: The endless pursuit of more creates artificial poverty. The discipline of gratitude, by contrast, brings natural wealth by freeing us from the snare of comparisons and unrealistic expectations. It is impossible to be truly grateful and discontent at the same moment.
- Cures our bent: According to Paul, contentment is a discipline we learn, not a feeling we experience. Remember, every one of us has a natural tendency toward discontent. That’s why we must remind one another to give thanks to the Source of our lives and livelihood.
- Gives us joy: It has been said that the worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank. A major part of joy in life is expressing gratitude to the One who meets our needs. Like helium fills a deflated balloon and lifts it to the heavens, thankfulness connects our spirits to the Source of all joy.
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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
1) What are you grateful for? (List or elaborate on one thing.)
2) Do you make it a practice to reflect daily on the blessings that God has given you, and thank Him?
3) As a family, What are ways we can express thankfulness to God each day this week?
Short reflection adapted from ThrivingFamily.com