Cultivating a Heart of Thanksgiving
I was visiting my best friend recently, after lunch she pulled her stand-alone dishwasher over to the sink to load it. Having the same setup, I made a comment on how inconvenient it was for washing dishes. Her simple statement stopped me and made me reevaluate my heart. She replied that it was better than the alternative of washing dishes by hand and she was grateful to have it.
During the rest of the weekend our conversations continually confirmed that she lives a life of thanksgiving. She goes out of her way to recognize and rejoice in everything. My own words on the other hand revealed that my heart was being conditioned to ignore these things and allowed to be dissatisfied. It was a wakeup call.
Having recently gone through a tough period in life where there was a strong desire for major change, I constantly dwelt in restlessness. Through it all I heard the Lord continually say, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” ( Philippians 3:1 ).
It is easy to rejoice when things are good. It is not easy to rejoice through difficult times. However, the act of rejoicing conditions the heart to stay soft and pliable, which is of the utmost importance. Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” ( Proverbs 4:23 ). How do you protect and guard your heart? Rejoice! Paul said it is a safeguard.
When we rejoice, we focus on the many blessings from God and His faithfulness to us. We see normal everyday things as a gift. When we plant words of thankfulness into our hearts we will reap that harvest instead of dissatisfaction and restlessness. A thankful heart is satisfied and grateful in each and every circumstance and moment in life. Thankfulness and gratitude protects and guards our heart.
Today is Thanksgiving. It is the perfect day to start cultivating a grateful heart. Start by thanking the Lord for the many blessings He has given you. Write a list of the things you are grateful for. Once you start you will be amazed at how easily and abundantly these things come to mind. Condition your heart to notice and respond to the many things God has blessed you with.
Psalm of Thanksgiving
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations”