Theology of Thankfulness

Theology of Thankfulness

Rudyard Kipling who wrote “Jungle Book” among other things, his $100 word of all the words he’d ever written, “Thanks”

Thank You

Helps rule your spirit and control your emotions

  • Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
  • Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Provides moral reinforcement

  • Gratitude is an indication of morality. Published by the American Psychological Association in Gratitude has 3 functions that can be conceptualized as morally relevant: 
    • (a) a moral barometer function (i.e., it is a response to the perception that one has been the beneficiary of another person’s moral actions);
    • (b) a moral motive function (i.e., it motivates the grateful person to behave prosocially toward the benefactor and other people);
    • (c) a moral reinforcer function (i.e., when expressed, it encourages benefactors to behave morally in the future). The personality and social factors that are associated with gratitude are also consistent with a conceptualization of gratitude as an affect that is relevant to people’s cognitions and behaviors in the moral domain. By McCullough, Michael E.,Kilpatrick, Shelley D.,Emmons, Robert A.,Larson, David B. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 127(2), Mar 2001, 249-266
  • Unfortunately, the best way to illustrate this is negatively.
    • Romans 1:20-25 – Moral degradation coupled with high self-esteem
    • 2 Timothy 3:2 – ingrates in the end times

Thanksgiving brings God’s blessing

  • Psalm 69:30-31 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
  • VICTORY – 2 Chronicles 20:20 Jehoshaphat’s singers gain the victory
  • FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT – 2 Chronicles 5:6-14 Solomon gives thanks and God’s glory fills the temple
  • Thankfulness is the open hand that God can fill
    • Notice the timing is when he had given thanks in John 6:11. Look at it again in John 6:23 they did eat bread after that the Lord had given thanks
    • Not that they ate bread after Jesus performed a miracle. The miracle is the product of gratitude. Not that they ate bread after the disciples distributed it … they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks… (6:23)
  • It multiplies the blessing. Paul said. Paul would tell the Corinthian church how generosity creates gratitude in the saints and multiplies the blessings. 2 Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
  • Thanksgiving brings God’s approval in 1 Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
  • Gratitude allows God to work because it is the will of God in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 …for this is the will of God…
    • If it brings God’s blessing then gratitude is appropriate in all circumstances .. In everything give thanks…
    • Bethany and Sarah illustration
  • Gratitude is based on Jesus Christ. It’s fixed on his work! We seem to be grateful for a lot of things that we associate with Christianity that aren’t Christian.

Gratitude is how I participate with God in work only He does

  • You’d never tell a mother of a fallen soldier, I’m glad he was there because I deserve that sacrifice. You’d never say that. But you want to participate with that mother in the heartache she feels so you say Thank You. And Thank You is how you participate. And Thank You is how you participate with God.
  • How can I say thank you?
  • Law of the sacrifice of peace Leviticus 7:11-15. This was a part of the Jews having a right attitude toward God. This is part of their voluntary appreciation for the things God has provided.
  • How do I say thank you? Romans 12:1-2 by the mercies of God offer your body a living sacrifice…

Invitation to be thankful to God the Father and our LORD Jesus Christ!