Have you ever considered what having a thankful heart means?
A thankful heart does not waste time criticizing. As a former quality control engineer, I actually used to be paid to find where things were wrong and correct them! That approach doesn’t work particularly well in relationships.
The next time you find yourself about to make a critical comment, stop yourself. See how many times in a day that you have to stop yourself. Speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). You will discover that you are more thankful.
A thankful heart is playful and has fun. This world has a lot of serious problems, but we cannot take ourselves too seriously. We need to laugh at ourselves and at the challenges that life brings. We need to have fun together. If we don’t, we despair, which weakens us to inaction. A cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).
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Most importantly, a thankful heart knows that there must be an object of thanks. “Giving thanks” begs the question, “to whom?” It is nonsensical to “give thanks” to no one. The Bible and the originators of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. are quite agreed on this point. “Give thanks to the Lord” is how the Bible puts it.
Abraham Lincoln’s call for a national day of prayer exclaims, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, the many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Let’s cultivate a heart that is thankful, not being too critical, capable of laughter and fun, and humbled before the object of our thanks — almighty God.
Boerckel is senior pastor of East White Oak Bible Church, rural Carlock.