I was taught to say “please” and “thank you” as a child. Aren’t we all? Thanks can be an automatic response or it can be heartfelt and worshipful praise to the Giver of all good gifts.
I’ve tried to be grateful along my journey as a Christ follower. Sometimes I need to be reminded.
In 2010, I read One Thousand Gifts, a book by Ann Voskamp, and I began to see how important it was to be daily thankful and intentional about counting gifts from the Father who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. As Ann was challenged to do, I began to write my list of gifts of grace in a notebook working my way toward one thousand.
Studies show that a grateful heart is healthy and gives one a better outlook on life. Nothing new here to those who know Scripture which gives numerous commands to give thanks. Isn’t it just like our gracious God that His commands are always for our good?
So my list began in November. Here are just some exerts.
Day 3 of giving thanks and counting grace: For music. It sings from my voice, plays from my fingers, moves in my body, fills my heart with worship, brings joy, refocuses me toward truth when lies threaten.
Day 5 of being thankful and counting grace: For meaningful work, the kind that stretches my skills and makes me think, a workplace where people are genuinely nice and care about me, work that rewards me with more than a paycheck but with an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.
Day 6 of giving thanks and counting grace: For Bible study. That God wants to share Himself and offers His written Word so I may know Him is amazing. Doing Bible study in group with a teacher, spending the quiet hour of the morning with Bible open in my lap, having the Holy Spirit show me truth and lead me into the knowledge of God – treasures in deed from the Word Himself.
Day 8 of giving thanks and county grace: For the United States Postal Service that takes what I give them and distributes it where it should go for less than 50 cents. They bring me packages from Amazon.com, cards and chatty letters from friends in far-away places, hand-written words that cheer me, make me smile, and realize how blessed I am to have relationships. In return, they take my encouraging words to someone else.
Day 9 of giving thanks and counting grace: For medical staff, who conscientiously care for my loved ones when they are sick. They smile and bring cheer along with medicine and therapy. They work longs hard hours and give much of themselves to help others get well. Thank you, Lord, for providing healing through their hands.
Day 11 of giving thanks and counting grace: For men and women of our armed forces who give their all, sacrifice their lives so I can sit here in my cozy home without fear. My grandfather, my dad, my uncles, many friends are among those who made it possible for me to live free.
Day 17 of being thankful and counting grace: For indoor plumbing. Seriously. On any day, but particularly on this raining morning, so glad I don’t have to run out of the comforts of my home to an outhouse. Hot showers with the turn of a handle. Warm water to wash my face. Cool drinks from the same faucet.
Day 19 of being thankful and county grace: For the public library, my tax dollars at work! I love bringing home free books and movies and then returning them and not having to find a place for them on my shelves. Friendly and helpful staff who smile when I come in ’cause they know me well.
Day 20 of giving thanks and counting grace: For the privilege of prayer that invites me to connect with the Almighty God of the universe. He allows me access to His very glorious presence through the blood of Jesus. I can join Him in what He is doing on this earth. Though loved ones are far away, my prayers can reach the Father for them. Oh, thank You Father, for You DO HEAR PRAYER!
Day 21 of being thankful and counting grace: For friends, those special people who have been with me in the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, who stand beside and weep with me, who laugh and celebrate with me, who love me when I am unlovable, who care about me and pray for me. True friends are gifts God gives us to show us Himself, a Friend who is closer than a brother.
Day 23 of giving thanks and counting grace: For the love of an animal, their loyalty and devotion, their forgiveness and acceptance, qualities I need in my own life. If I could learn to be content just to be near my Master without demanding to know what in the world He is doing and why, I’d be a better Christ follower.
Day 26 of being thankful and counting grace: For my dad. Today is his birthday, and he is celebrating it in the presence of the Almighty. I am thankful for the years he lived, for the love he gave to his little girl, for the legacy he left me, for the example he lived of what it looks like to be a man of God, a man of prayer. I’m thankful for his zillion prayers ever before the throne of God.
Day 27 of giving thanks and counting grace: For daily bread, whether that be meat and vegetables on my plate or the new mercies that are fresh for this day, this season. He will not withhold any good thing from those who love Him. The promise is true and His grace is sufficient for today.
Day 28 of giving thanks and counting grace on Thanksgiving Day: This is the day for counting the hard Eucharisteo, as Ann Voskamp encourages me to do. So I thank God for the gifts that have not looked like gifts when they came to me in dark clouds, painful thorns, harsh winds and long nights. Though I may not yet be able to see the blessing in these gifts, I trust that He is working all those things for my good and for His glory. One day I will know. I will know Him as He is. And that will be enough.
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God, for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate. Psalm 147:1 Amp.