Why Should I Be Thankful?

Why Should I Be Thankful?

Devotionals on the practice of gratitude.
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Maybe you're having a really hard time right now. Or possibly you're just feeling kind of blah about life. Either way, you might be thinking, What do I have to be grateful for? Here are three devotionals written by students who've dug into God's Word and discovered good reasons to say, "Thank you, God!"

Always Give Thanks?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

When bad things happen to me, my first reaction is not to be joyful. I don't feel like giving thanks when I'm hurt by a good friend, or when I fight with my parents or get a bad grade. I feel like saying, "If God really loved me, this wouldn't be happening!"

But then I look at all the ways God has blessed me. God gives me great, amazing gifts all the time, and I hardly ever remember to say, "Thank you." If I paid more attention to praising God and less attention to my problems, I'd be a lot more joyful person. —Chris

What about You?

1) Think back to a time when something bad happened. What were your prayers like then?
2) Start a list of the ways God has been good to you. Whenever you think of another reason to be thankful, add it to the list.
3) Offer God a prayer of pure thanksgiving, with no requests in it.

No Complaints

As he was going into a village, 10 men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourself to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:12-16)

Last year, I went to Mexico on a short-term missions trip with my youth group. I really didn't like the housing conditions or the food we ate, and I complained a lot. But reading the story of the 10 lepers tells me that I need to always be thankful to God.

In the story, the only person who came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan, a hated foreigner. He must have been nervous about talking to Jesus. He could have made excuses for not saying thank you. But he didn't.

I was a foreigner when I was in Mexico. I was out of my comfort zone, and I didn't like it. But I should have been thankful that I had any housing and food at all. And I should have been thankful that God gave me the opportunity to serve other people and tell them about Jesus. —Jesse

What about You?

1) How do you feel when someone forgets to thank you for something nice you did? How do you think your parents, grandparents, teachers or friends feel if you forget to thank them? How might God feel when you forget to thank him?
2) Purchase a package of thank-you cards and write short notes of appreciation and gratitude to several people. Send those cards until they're all gone.
3) Ask God to help you become a more grateful person.

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