What Does It Mean to Be Thankful?

Throughout the month of November, I always notice people posting these days of thanksgiving on their Facebook pages. I even took it a little farther this year and have been posting pictures of things I’m thankful for each day. But what does it really mean to be thankful? What should our thankfulness look like? And are we really thankful all year or just in November when we can join all our social media friends in posting?

I think there is a great divide between saying I’m thankful and actually acting grateful. The words of thanksgiving often come easy, but my actions don’t line up with what I’m saying. I want to make sure that I am actually expressing my gratitude with my actions instead of just saying words about being thankful when November rolls around.

The true meaning of thankfulness

So I’ve pondering. How should we express gratitude? If we are truly grateful people, grateful from the heart, what will that look like in our lives? How will my actions show that I am grateful?

1. I am content. So often I say I’m thankful, and then a moment later I’m complaining. If I’m truly thankful, I’ll be content with what I have.

2. I am joyful. A thankful heart should equal a joyful countenance. If I’m really thankful, then I should choose to be joyful despite my circumstance.

3. I act lovingly toward other. I say I’m thankful for my husband or for my kids, and then I turn around and make a selfish decision that puts what I want over what they want. If I’m truly thankful for them, my actions toward them should be loving.

4. I am forgiving. In the New Testament, Jesus tells a parable about a man who is excused from a large debt. He thanks his lord who has excused his debt but then immediately goes and tries to claim a smaller debt from a servant under him. He refuses to forgive his servant’s debt, and throws him in prison. When I say I’m thankful for God’s forgiveness for my sins, that should make me desire to forgive others.

5. I am giving. If I say how thankful I am for material blessings, but then I refuse to help someone else in need, I’m not really acting grateful. True gratefulness should cause me to want to share the blessings I have with others.

As we approach Thanksgiving this year, as I post my pictures of things I’m thankful for, I pray that God will bring this to my mind. And I will work on acting thankful all year long, not just during this season of the year.

This post was originally linked up with a Schoolhouse Review Crew blog Cruise. You can read what other TOS Crew members wrote about giving thanks by checking out the blog cruise here.

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