Where does Thankfulness Come From? A Practical & Theological Reflection

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Yesterday I sat on our front porch and thankfully watched a little goldfinch pluck seeds from a previously ignored seed sack. The little seed bag had been hanging for many weeks untouched. This little guy changed all that. I marveled at his pint-sized beauty. I thanked God for the wonder of color. It was a grateful moment brought about by an unusual event. Have you thankfully experienced an unusual occurrence lately? 

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Focusing on thankfulness these past weeks, has me formulating these thoughts: 

  • The Holy Trinity lives in thankfulness.  
  • Thankfulness must come from a source outside ourselves. Just as mercy, grace, kindness, joy, peace, and holiness, the community of the Trinity is the perfect embodiment of their reality. Think about it for a second – all that you want to be is found in the Trinity including thankfulness. Each member is perfectly thankful for the other. 
  • In Jesus Christ true Christians have been made partakers of the life of the Trinity. Ingrained in that life is thankfulness. 
  • The more in communion with the Trinity you are, the more thankful you are.
  • The more thankful you are the more you are like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • True thankfulness is a synergistic activity – you and the Trinity work in harmony to be thankful.    
  • Living in God means living in thankfulness. 
  • It is living out of communion with the Trinity that you experience real thankfulness.
  • The hunger to live thankfully is really a hunger for the Triune God who is perfect Thankfulness. 
  • You can be thankful at all times including times when thankfulness does not make sense. This kind of thankfulness is not reliant on your circumstances or location. It is grounded in the life of the Trinity.  
  • Living thankfully is not just a choice. It is participating in the Thankfulness already going on; a participation in the thankfulness of the Holy Trinity. 
  • Complaining, criticizing, grumbling, bellyaching, and whining are foreign to Jesus Christ, the Father, and Holy Spirit. When you engage in these, you are not Christian; your actions are not Christlike. You need to repent and unite yourself to Christ. 

Perhaps you wrestle with giving thanks for all things due to a lack of intimate communion with the Holy Trinity. It is not enough to learn to give thanks. You must also learn to participate in the life of the Trinity more fully. In that participation, you will naturally, from your heart, become a grateful person. 

Perhaps this is what the Psalmist David was getting at when he wrote: 

Know that the Lord is God! It is He who 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, praise His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy endures forever, and His truth from generation to generation. (Psalm 100) 

Dr. K