Say ‘Thank You!’
As a bratty little boy I had to be constantly reminded to say ‘Thank you’ for things. I was unthankful and presumptuous. My elders were working for my good when they laboured to teach me my manners, and I am very thankful for it.
Sadly, my hardness of heart through my youth set some persistent patterns in my life and behaviour. My unwillingness to be thankful as a matter of courtesy continued into adulthood. It’s really only over the past few years that I’ve begun to realize just how connected thanklessness / thankfulness is to my heart’s whole disposition.
Recently, I thought it would be good for me to go back and do a little study on thankfulness in the New Testament. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Not only was the study huge, it was hugely convicting.
I was expecting the apostle Paul to command us to be thankful. I wasn’t expecting the New Testament to model and expect so much about thankfulness. And I wasn’t expecting to see just how clearly thankfulness is so much more than manners; it is bound up with godliness and worship in every area of our lives.
I want to provide you with my compilation of New Testament texts and teaching on thankfulness. I think the best way to use it is to download the PDF, print it, go through the texts one-by-one and make notes on them.
That being said, I know that many of you (a) won’t do that, or, (b) won’t do that without convincing, so I’m going to offer a few highlights here.
Jesus Himself Modelled Thankfulness
And note the things he thanks his Father for. These are things I would complain and be bitter about, but he gives thanks.
ESV Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
ESV Luke 22:17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. … 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”