3 Simple Facts That Will Help Cultivate a Thankful Heart (Even if You Aren’t Feeling It)

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For the first time in a dozen years, I’m in Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, Sunday, I was asked to preach at the church where my dad is the minister.  While preparing the sermon, I thought, hey, this could be recycled into a good post.  Since my family will be spending time with my parents today, I thought this would be a good day to repurpose a sermon into a blog post.

3 Keys to Thankfulness

Recognize that God Has Given All of Us a Reason for Thanksgiving

I’m amazed at the number of people who visit a developing nation and comment on how they are so surprised how happy the kids are even though they don’t have very much.  I guess that means that a lot of our happiness is based on the things we have.  

When life gets hard, our tendency is to think that we’re now exempt from thanksgiving because the narrative of our life contradicts the narrative of scripture.

However, one of the main thanksgiving themes in the New Testament is attributed to the work of God in Christ.  For example, 1 Cor. 15:57, 2 Cor. 2:14, Col. 1:12, and Heb. 12:18.  The gift of salvation is one that all people on earth can be thankful for.  

No matter where we are in life, the Scriptures remind us that there is a deep spiritual reason for thanksgiving.

Thankfulness Comes from Where You Choose to Focus Your Energy

In the Garden of Eden, God placed a tree and instructed Adam and Eve that they could not eat from one tree.

That was the only thing in the ‘have not’ category.  

And yet, when a sly serpent is introduced to the story, he wants their focus to be placed on what they do not have.  What that have is plenty sufficient, but through seeds of doubt, their energy is exhausted trying to figure out why they are lacking. Cómo recuperar el jardín después del verano

It’s possible that we play out that same scenario today.  We might have much, but instead of thinking about what we have, we think about what we don’t have.  We wonder why those around us have been blessed to enjoy such and such thing.  

However, if we make it a constant habit to remind ourselves of the many things we do have and many things we do enjoy, those seeds of thankfulness will spout a heart of praise and worship towards God.

Thanksgiving is a Spiritual Discipline that Transforms Us to the Kind of People God Wants Us to Be

There is something positive that happens to our heart and our character when we say ‘thank you’.

Thank you is an act of humility.  In it, we realize we need others and we depend on others.  Thank you is a way we depend on God as we recognize his provision in our lives instead of our own effort or genius.  

To say thank you, you must turn outward.  You must think beyond yourself for a moment.

It is throughout the process of recognizing the work and kindness of God or of others that we change into the likeness of God.


May God bless us all with thankful hearts.  If you’re in Canada, I pray that you’ll have a wonderful holiday with friends and family.


Other Great Articles:

  1. The Blessing Journal | How to Be Thankful Even When You’re Not Feeling It
  2. Developing a Giving Heart | Help! I Have a Calloused Heart
  3. Imagine How Thankful We’d Be if We Could See Everything God is Doing

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