“Thankfulness” is a concept with many subtle variations of meaning and impact.
In the online article Scientific Proof that Being Thankful Improves Your Health, the author wrote, “Research shows that consistently grateful people are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, more helpful, more empathic, more spiritual, more forgiving, and less materialistic. They’re also less likely to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, neurotic, or sick.”*
Psalm 100 encourages us, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (NASB)
Can you feel the intensity with which that is spoken?
“Thankfulness,” it seems to me, has often lost its passion of being a driving force with power and energy inside it. What do people often say they are “thankful for”? In casual conversation, the responses are as varied as the people, themselves, with a few “thankful for God’s love” statements occasionally thrown in. But what often catches my ear is that the “attitude of thanksgiving,” as expressed, often seems more like an intellectual reminder of what should be…. than a heartfelt, personal walk-of-life
I believe that Paul had a deep, driving thankfulness that poured out when he cried out, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39, NASB)
The word “thankful” is not in Paul’s discourse….but you can hear it passionately gushing from Paul’s heart. In a private, prayerful setting I can imagine Paul praying, I thank You that I cannot be separated from Your love, the love of Christ; I thank you that neither tribulation or distress or persecution will separate me from Your love; I thank you that the external things like famine or nakedness or peril, do not separate me from Your love; I thank you that death does not separate us; that beings in the spiritual realm do not separate us; that nothing that has happened, or will happen, can separate us…this is You in me, and me in you, and I am thankful that our relationship reflects what You and the Father share, continually….”
That’s not a prayer written in Scripture….but I can hear it, imagine it, sense the incredible release of His power and Presence in those who experience the joy and vitality of such thankfulness.
Maybe the reason our “thankfulness” is so often without passion….is because the object of our “thanks” has become separated from the One Who has given it, Who is worthy to receive the thanksgiving. And the focus of the power that can be released through thankfulness….has been substituted for a feel-good complacency that comes through physical comfort and ease.
Come….enter His gates, step through the very doorway to Himself, through thanksgiving….
*Scientific Proof that Being Thankful Improves Your Health, Dr. Lisa Rankin http://www.mindbodygreen.com/