Give Thanks

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During this time of year, it’s easy for me to become a little apathetic when it comes to being grateful. I know it’s not what you expect from someone who works at a church, but it’s true.

Year after year, my newsfeeds are inundated with posts of friends and acquaintances expressing their gratitude for all of the blessings in their lives, for their friends, family, jobs, homes, cars, and everything in between.

And I think it’s important to express our thanks because we read from Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians to, “rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). It’s an important part of living a full life and being joyful people - we have to acknowledge the goodness that surrounds us every single day.

But do you ever feel like saying your thankful just seems kind of… empty?

A few years ago, my old friend, Jeff Goins, wrote an article and said, “Gratitude isn’t something you have; it’s something you give.” I couldn’t agree more.

While it’s important to verbally express our thanks for the people and things around us, it’s just as important (if not more important) to demonstrate that gratitude.

“Gratitude isn’t something you have; it’s something you give.”
— Jeff Goins

It makes me think of what Jesus said to his disciples in the Gospel of John when he said that everyone would know they’re Christians by their love (Jn. 13:35). Love isn’t an adjective as much as it’s a verb. Love is something we express.

So is gratitude.

I think that’s the secret from growing apathetic and from feeling like our words of thanksgiving ring hallow. We have to pair them with action. 

So as you’re gathering around the table this holiday season with friends and family, don’t just tell everyone what you’re thankful for – show them how you’re thankful.

Maybe for some of you that means cooking dinner for your parents this year while for others it means doing the dishes so your dad doesn’t have to. Or maybe for more that means you volunteer your time serving meals at the local shelter instead of sitting around the TV watching football.

There are countless ways to be thankful. But my challenge to you this year is to do more than say thanks, rather give thanks!


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Matt Snyder is a thirty-something writer and Director of Communications at First Baptist Church of Decatur. You can read more of his writing at matthewlasnyder.com