We will no doubt enjoy the traditions that usually accompany this Thanksgiving holiday—great food, time with family and friends, watching football games—but will we give any thought at all to being thankful?
Did you ever realize that there is great power in thankfulness? Interestingly, there has been a great deal of research into the science of gratitude, and much time and money has been spent to find out what difference it makes in the life of a person who is intentionally thankful. And these studies have discovered that a thankful person is twenty-five percent happier than a non-thankful person!
When I read about these studies, I thought: Why didn’t they ask me? I could have told them that. Or better still: Why didn’t they just go to the Word of God? Time and again it tells us about the power of thankfulness.
In the Old Testament the people of Israel were instructed to bring thank offerings, sacrifices that were presented to God, to give thanks for his goodness.
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High” (Psalm 50:14).
Now, a sacrifice meant they had to bring something they owned to the altar of God and offer it as a thank offering. Why do you think God instituted the thank offering? Because the people of Israel—like us—were very prone to grumble and complain and they needed to be reminded that they should be thankful people.
The power of thankfulness is the power to change our attitude, to change our thought patterns, to change our focus—and that changes us. You see, thankfulness cannot coexist with griping and complaining. You just can’t complain and give thanks at the same time. So, thankfulness drives out the negative thinking and causes us to be focused on the blessings of our lives.
But like the people of Israel, we need lots of reminders to be thankful people. So, I’m going to remind us all that if we truly are thankful people, not only will we be happier, but more importantly, we’ll be pleasing to the Lord. For today, would you give a thank offering right now? Just say—out loud if possible—one thing you are thankful for.