A Better Way to Be Thankful, Grateful, Blessed
You’ve seen the phrase Thankful, Grateful, Blessed on all the trendy farmhouse décor. It looks so pretty but I can’t bring myself to buy anything with that phrase. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful…and grateful…and blessed, but I’m also concerned with the subtle message.
Perhaps the intent is to convey that when we are blessed we should be thankful. That we should not take our many blessings, like food and family, for granted. I can get behind that. It’s easy to compare and become discontent instead of having a thankful attitude.
Or maybe it means to say that we in this rich country are blessed (at least enough to spend $50 on a farmhouse style sign), but hoarding our material blessings is ok because we are also thankful (and grateful in case you missed it). Veiled materialism in scripty font.
But the way I read it, the first two words are synonyms: thankful and grateful. It implies that the third word is also closely linked; it implies that we are thankful because of our blessings.
You think you know what I’m about to say… “Come on guys, muster up a fake smile, and give thanks even when life is hard because it could be worse. Count your blessings and all of that.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 does remind us to give thanks in all circumstances. It says to rejoice, pray and give thanks because this is what God wants.
Is it really saying to give thanks for a miscarriage or a layoff? Perhaps. God most certainly works in difficult circumstances for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). We often look back at hard times with thanks for the lessons learned or the provision of God to see us through. The difficult seasons are sometimes the true blessings in life as they develop our character and relationship with God (James 1:2-3).
But I wonder if our giving thanks should be aimed not just at our circumstances but beyond them. If our thankfulness should be less because of the blessings given (or in spite of challenged faced) and more because of the one who gives us blessings (in all forms).
Psalm 106:1 Oh Give thanks to the Lord for He is Good, for His steadfast love endures forever (ESV).
Give thanks because He is Good.
Give thanks because He is steadfast or Unchanging.
Give thanks because He is Loving.
Give thanks because He is forever or Eternal.
Give thanks because of who God is.
This year as your family writes what they are thankful for on paper leaves to post on a paper tree, or in a journal of remembrance, consider adding leaves of thankfulness for God’s character. Spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving reading about the attributes and character of God. This printable sheet lists 21 attributes and verses to get you started. Or the Navigators have created a great list as well linked Here!
If you have elementary age children, The Attributes of God for Kids is a great resource to dive into the attributes of God. With fun questions, age-appropriate readings, and memory verse tools, parents and kids can learn to give thanks because of who God is.