By Reverend Kimberly Bowden
Thankfulness or gratitude is a prominent theme in the Bible. This is proof to me that gratitude is an essential part of a fruitful and productive life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it states “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Many people skim over the fact that we are informed to be grateful, and to give thanks regardless of the circumstances that we are presented with. No matter what we are faced with, there is an opportunity to learn, and more importantly, we are ALIVE to learn it. Right now, in every moment, we have a chance to learn to be more grateful.
When you truly dig into the scriptures of the Bible, you will garner an understanding of just how important an attitude of gratitude is within our everyday lives. We should always be thankful and exhibit gratitude in a variance of circumstances.
Psalms 136:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.”
Per the Bible, we are to be filled with gratitude due to God’s consistent goodness, as well as His love which is steadfast and reliable. As we are able to begin to thoroughly recognize the very nature of our depravity while understanding that there is only death (according to Romans 7:5 and John 10:10), it is natural for us to be expressly grateful in regards to the life that has been gifted to us.
Within Psalms 30:1-12, David is able to exhibit gratitude towards God after a circumstance that was more than difficult. This is a psalm of thanksgiving, that is not only able to praise God within the precise moment, but it also recalls upon the faithfulness of God. This is a statement towards the unwavering character of God, which is wondrous that praise is certainly the singularly appropriate response.
Examples of gratitude within the Bible can be found within the midst of horrific
and cumbersome circumstances. Such is the case when David finds himself crying out to God in Psalms 28:6-7. It was in the middle of great hardship that David was able to convey this. We should all be able to learn from him in the fact that he was able to be grateful when times were not to his liking.
We have all fallen into the trap of believing that hard times equate to failure, or a moment in which we should doubt, or hold on to bitterness. It is during these moments, when shadows overtake our light that we succumb to the belief that all is lost and there is nothing worth being grateful for. This is the greatest untruth of humanity. We are unable to know good without bad. Just as we are unable to know pain without joy. Our greatest lessons come from failure or dark times. This is when we learn. This is when it is brought to our attention what we need to work diligently on. We learn very little from success and constant pats on the back and worry-free days. It is our darkest days that we should actually be the most thankful for. It is these days that we are drawn closer to our true nature. We are to show gratitude for anything that is able to make us better, and for anything that will assist us in making society better.
As we journey through life, we can become easily bombarded with reasons to not show any form of gratitude at all. We can fall prey to the misconceptions of the mainstream that steers us away from gratitude. It is important that we all keep in mind that every day that we are alive and able to improve upon our lives is a gift from God. For every sunrise and sunset that you are able to experience, you are to be thankful. Being alive is a reason to celebrate and be filled with thanksgiving.
We need to break ourselves of the mindset of only being humbled and thankful in times of triumph. We need to not forget or overshadow those times when we are presented with the opportunity to become better people. Moreover, the Bible teaches that gratitude is essential, in all circumstances. For instance, Job had everything stripped from him and yet he remained humble, grateful and faithful. In the end, he was restored far greater than the point at which all was taken from him. Job was grateful for the fact that he had another day to praise, to learn and to rebuild. This is something that we all must keep firmly in mind all given times. The bible teaches us that gratitude is a necessity that will ensure our survival, blessings, humility ad growth.
It is gratitude that allows us to thoroughly and truly see and understand our fellow man. It is the act and attitude of gratitude that allows us to show one other our worth and appreciation. It is through gratitude that we are able to praise one another by reminding each other that we are all something and someone very special indeed. Gratitude keeps us in tuned with the true essence of humanity. This is all what is contained and taught from within the many pages of the Bible. We are all connected, and it is gratitude that reminds us of this and keeps us within this connection. There is truly no you or I….it is but we. For this I am thankful.