When we are thankful, it means that we have been impressed with a sense of kindness that has been expressed toward us, and we desire to acknowledge it. Essentially, it indicates that we are grateful. Thankfulness is the actual expression of our gratitude and acknowledgment of the kindness done to us. Thankfulness is also a state of mind, an attitude. It is a content and positive perspective, which does not focus on what one does not have, but rather values what one does have, no matter how basic.
Being thankful is part of being content. Unfortunately, many people feel that being content means that they have to give up on their dreams and goals. It does not. Like thankfulness, contentment is a state of mind. God wants us to be content with and thankful for what we have been given. That does not mean that we cannot want better and work to make our situations better, but it does mean that we should not approach our proper desire for more with a greedy, covetous attitude.
Nor can we compare what others have and what we may not have from an attitude that we deserve the same or even better. Maybe we do deserve it, but right now God has chosen not to give it to us, and we must be content with that and thankful for what we have been given.
How thankful and content we are can be seen in the illustration of water in a glass. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Our answer depends on and reveals our state of mind.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
(6) Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
It is God’s will for us to be thankful because He knows that it is good for us to have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him. When we have a thankful attitude and an attitude of appreciation for Him and what He does for us, it does not leave much room for ingratitude in our lives.
In reading Psalm 8:3-6, we can see ourselves in perspective to God’s creation:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. . . .
God has given us—humanity—dominion over the things that He has created. And beyond that, out of all humanity, we have been given a tremendous responsibility to develop righteous character and have the potential of living eternally in His Kingdom. This thought alone should help us to be thankful each day.
Walk daily with God at your side!