Thankfulness is an attribute my wife Hillary and I declared we desire as a core family value long before we had children. It is such a powerful force within a family. Thankfulness reframes our daily lives. Obviously, many are thankful for big milestones like birthdays, holidays and big achievements. But, our desire is to have thankfulness every day.
Now, with a bigger family than just the two of us, it is our job to teach our children how to be thankful. How is it more than just a nice pleasantry that is said in passing to be polite? How can we learn to be truly thankful for the gift of Jesus, our family, and our daily lives? I’m reminded of the words of the apostle Paul when he writes to the church in Thessalonica,
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” —1 Thessalonians 5:18. Giving thanks in all circumstances is what Scripture tells us to do, but I love that second part of the verse, “for this is the will of God… for you.”
As a pastor, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “What is God’s will for my life?” I love when Scripture gives us such a clear way to step into God’s will. As we are shaped into the kind of people that practice thankfulness in all things, God’s will for our lives takes shape. We literally are changed by the simple act of thankfulness. It’s not just scripture that says this, but modern-day psychology also agrees.
Practicing thankfulness changes a person. Hillary and I do this by reminding ourselves of the faithfulness of God, by not taking things like housing or food in the cupboard for granted, and by giving to others. We remind ourselves that even in hard times and the times that feel sad, we have a steadfast Father in Heaven that we can be thankful for His work in our lives.
I encourage you to do one simple task over the next month. Every day when you wake up, write down one thing you are thankful for. That’s it. Just one. Do it every day. Watch what happens!
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