Where Gratitude Grows Best (Giving Thanks Always)

“In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)

Do you ever sit and marvel at just how different your kids can be? Our daughter turns seven tomorrow, and our son will be four in May. My wife and I are incredibly grateful that our kids are such good friends, but wow are their personalities different! Our son is a big, fuzzy teddy bear, eager to please with a soft, gentle heart. Our daughter is loving too - but she’s the household attorney, ready to argue the most minute points for just about anything. She also does not like to be told to do anything! So asking her to show gratitude or show thanks for something typically gets a loud grunt - not the kind of heart my wife and I are hoping she will develop! We’re all works in progress, right?

I look at my daughter and in many ways see my own heart from my childhood. I was often demanding, expecting my parents to give me what I wanted when I wanted it, and at times completely lacking any sense of gratitude or humility. It makes me sad to think of the hearts I wounded with cold reactions to gifts I didn’t like… I don’t want the sins of the father to be passed on to my kids!

As Christians, how do we gain hearts that are filled with gratitude? Alicia Bruxvoort from Proverbs 31 Ministries writes about this in her devotional titled “Where Gratitude Grows Best.” She says true gratitude is rooted in deep intimacy with our heavenly Father - the more we know God, the closer we get to him, the more aware we become of our own sin, his great gift to us through his son Jesus, and the incomparable riches we have through him. Reflecting on the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Alicia writes:

Paul’s words remind us that gratitude isn’t anchored in ease; it’s anchored in intimacy. The more we know God, the more reasons we have to thank Him.

Her next statement really hit home for me:

Gratitude may not be our first response when our circumstances are challenging or disappointing. But when we focus on who God is rather than on what He is doing, we discover that we can give thanks even from the middle of our mess.

I think this is my greatest challenge in life - to look past my circumstances and look towards Jesus. I so need his help to do this!!! As we face this challenge together, let’s take heed of Alicia’s closing advice:

So fix your gaze on God’s faithfulness, and continue to seek His heart. Because if I know our Savior, He’s making something marvelous in the middle of that mess.