Day 1

What Does It Mean to Give Thanks?

from the Give Thanks reading plan


1 Chronicles 16:4-36, Psalm 107:8, Psalm 118:21, Isaiah 38:17-19, Hebrews 13:15

BY Jessica Lamb

Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:4-36, Psalm 107:8, Psalm 118:21, Isaiah 38:17-19, Hebrews 13:15

One year ago, my husband woke up to the smell of smoke filling our home. The rest of the morning is a blur—calling 911, then standing barefoot on a neighbor’s front lawn while the fire department extinguished flames on the house we’d finished unpacking only the day before. We’d moved more than a thousand miles to this new place and knew only my coworkers and a neighbor or two through brief introductions.

People were quick to help. Near strangers offered us guest rooms and finished basements. A neighbor brought my daughter a stuffed animal to hold. My new coworkers showed up with lunch, and old friends sent gift cards. At one point, exhausted and spent, I found a laundry basket full of toiletries and groceries on the doorstep of our temporary residence.

The juxtaposition of kind acts against our difficult circumstances kept God, His goodness, and His constancy at the front of my mind. But now, in the safe routine of my daily life, I’m ashamed to say I go long stretches without pausing to thank God. I treat gratitude toward Him like a pile of thank-you notes I never get around to writing.

Maybe the opposite is true for you. Maybe in seasons of abundance, it is easy for you to remember that every good gift comes from God; however, in seasons of sorrow, words of thanksgiving stick in your throat. Still, God’s Word to us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–17 remains the same: It is His will for us in Christ Jesus to give thanks in everything.

The Bible presents gratitude as more than a box to check or a note to send. In each of today’s readings, we see that a grateful heart isn’t a response to our circumstances or possessions. It is a posture of worship, an active response to our unchanging God and what He has already accomplished and continues to accomplish.

In 1 Chronicles 16, David decrees that the people of God give thanks to Him in proclaiming His deeds and sharing about His wondrous works. The psalmist points to God’s faithful love and act of salvation as reasons to thank Him. Isaiah tells us thanksgiving is a privilege reserved for the living. We’re shown in these words how we can cultivate thanksgiving in ourselves by taking time to notice who God is, what He has done, and what He continues to do.

Giving thanks isn’t complicated, but it isn’t easy either. It is a discipline—the habit of turning our hearts and minds to the past and present work of our good God. I pray this study of biblical gratitude will bring you peace and confidence in God’s care for you, and point you toward Him in praise and thanksgiving. We have been given so much in Him.

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Post Comments (190)

190 thoughts on "What Does It Mean to Give Thanks?"

  1. MaKenzie Taylor says:

    Reading this, and the verses from the bible makes me think that I should start giving thanks to God for the smallest things that happen in my life too. I always give thanks for the big things, but I guess I take the small thing for granted.

  2. Jessica Bell says:

    Really good reminder to slow down and see that God is still present and doing things even when I don’t see it.

  3. Grace Douglas says:

    I get lost in my darkness, and forget the Lord and His kindness. I pray for the thankful eyes and heart to see Him first, and always

  4. Bailey Braden says:

    I pray that continuing the habit of daily gratitude and working through this study, I’ll be able to let go of my sin of comparison and envy.

  5. Jenn Pardue says:

    I have been living the hardest 3 years of of my life. I’ve experienced a new marriage to someone with ptsd, the birth of my daughter and the loss of both of my parents. I’ve had more bad days than good but I find myself coming back to SheReadsTruth again and again. Starting this reading on thankfulness in every season seems to be exactly where I need (and want) to be.

  6. Afua Tobigah says:

    For years I have been bitter about the sought of parent I have. I have thanked God for many things but I have not thanked God for choosing them as parent for me. I am now beginning to walk a process of godly forgiveness and healing but still, it didn’t occur to me how my life has been enriched due to what I have regarded as my parent’s lack of care. I wouldn’t have met my husband if my mum hadn’t made a certain decision that I regarded us hurtful. I wouldn’t have lean totally on God the way I do now. of course it God would have chosen other means but this is the route he chooses. As I sit here I have identified some positive traits about my parent that I have inherited. the point is today I can boldly and without any doubt say I’m grateful for the parent I have. Of course, God was right in choosing them as mine. God, I thank you.

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