Living with a Grateful Heart!

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By Paul Richey

In 1621, the original colonist with the Wanpanoag Indians celebrated what many consider to be the first thanksgiving. Of the 102 original colonists, only 54 had survived to this point. Though the colonists had been plagued with pain, suffering, disease, and death, they were still grateful for the harvest. Even with the issues, the colonists found reason to rejoice and be thankful.

For followers of Christ, one’s gratitude should overflow from the redemptive work of Christ. Through pain, suffering, disease, and even death, the Christian has a reason to be grateful and to be thankful. The New Testament gives us several key areas for which to be grateful.

First, believers should be grateful for grace. Grace is a dimension of God’s activity by which He confronted the rebellion of man. Without God’s grace, individuals would receive the wrath of God because of their sinful disobedience. In grace, God offered reconciliation to those who do not deserve reconciliation. So like the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:4, it is important that believers remember to be thankful for grace this Thanksgiving.

Second, Christians should be grateful for the task of declaring the gospel. Each believer has been given the task of sharing the gospel with those separated from the love of God. This task should be an activity that each believer is grateful to participate in. Though called, such an activity should not be considered a burden, but rather a blessing. Thus, to be used by the Lord for the sake of expanding the Kingdom is a reason to be thankful to the Lord. As the Apostle Paul stated in 2Corinthians 2:14, believers should be thankful that the Lord wants to use them for his purpose.

Third, followers of Christ should be thankful for the gifts of the Spirit. When one becomes a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his or her heart and gifts them. These gifts are not to be used for selfish gain, but rather for the purpose of fulfilling the will of God. In 1 Corinthians 14:8, the Apostle Paul gives thanks to the Lord for his giftedness. Likewise, this Thanksgiving, followers of Christ should be grateful and thankful for the gifts that the Spirit has given.

Fourth, believers should be thankful for the love that exists within the body of Christ. Like coming together as a family for Thanksgiving, believers should rejoice and be thankful that they have two families. Fellow believers make up the family of God. This is a family that should support one another and love one another. Believers in this season should be thankful for other believers and how we are united in Christ.

 A grateful heart should identify a believer. Not just at Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We have so much to rejoice in and be thankful for. Take time this Thanksgiving to rejoice and be thankful to the Lord for all that He has done, is doing, and will do.