Day 12

Give Thanks in Plenty and in Want

from the Give Thanks reading plan

Psalm 23:1-6, 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, Deuteronomy 6:10-15, Haggai 1:2-6, Philippians 4:10-12

BY Marnie Hammar

I admit, I’m a sucker for any reel or caption that starts with “learn the secret to.” Maybe it’s clickbait, but what if it’s the very secret I’ve been waiting for? What will I finally learn that will change my life?

So when I read what Paul writes in Philippians 4:12, it holds my attention: “I have learned the secret of being content.” This is not clickbait. Don’t we all want to learn how to be content in both abundance and in need? The very next verse tells us how, as Paul shares that we can do all things “through him who strengthens me” (v.13).

But if you’re like me, you want more details. Perhaps you feel challenged, as I do, to “think carefully about your ways” (Haggai 1:5) when struggling to give thanks. I’ve struggled to give thanks while my stomach is in knots and with being grateful when I see no way out. When we’re battling discontentment, we need to ask where we are placing our faith. We must examine what our minds and hearts and souls are holding. Today’s passages help us dive deeper into what Paul meant. We see in these verses a declaration of God’s ownership, provision and placement over all things. Individually, each is a truth we may know and embrace. But when we line them up, we’re faced with some tough questions. 

Do we really believe these things: God leads us and gives us what we need (Psalm 23:1–3); He gives us a place to rest and eat (vv.2,5); He keeps His promise to provide (Deuteronomy 6:10); and everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to God (1Chronicles 29:11)?

Because the secret to giving thanks in plenty and in want lies in where our hearts and minds dwell. We can dwell on what we lack or dwell in His kingdom. We can dwell on what we can’t control or dwell in His promise to lead us and provide what we need. 

When I overfocus on what’s missing more than building up His kingdom (Haggai 1:4–6), that’s a sign my heart is dwelling on the world instead of dwelling in Christ. Through Jesus, we are no longer in bondage (Deuteronomy 6:12, Galatians 5:1), but dwelling in that freedom is a choice. Do we seek to give thanks no matter what? Or do we seek to fill our lack with this world? What we seek tells the story of where we dwell.

Let’s lay down seeking this world’s counterfeit peace and security, and instead seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Let’s choose to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6). Because when we truly believe He is ruler of everything (1Chronicles 29:12), we will seek His provision of green pastures and quiet waters as our plenty. 

Then we will have learned the secret.

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Give Thanks in Plenty and in Want"

  1. Ada McCloud says:

    When i focus on what’s missing… This stepped on my toes a bit. I need to really think about how I’m giving thanks in want.

  2. Melissa Pidcock says:


  3. Brielle Hebert says:

    When I start my day with quiet time and dwelling on the truths and goodness of God, my whole outlook throughout the day is one of gratitude and realization of my abundance in Christ. The mornings I put other things (dishes, laundry, never ending to do list, etc) above my quiet time are the days that I tend to focus more on the things of this world and falling into an endless cycle of wanting. Lord, may I prioritize my quiet time with you each morning so that my heart and mind can dwell on your goodness and provision rather than the things of this world for You are all I need and I lack nothing.

  4. Heather Schmudlach says:

    This was very convicting

    1. Kristyn Ratlief says:

      Yes, very convicting!

  5. Fevet says:

    Praying for you, Lolly. I’m going through similar things to what you described. I was also convicted by today’s reading the most for similar reasons: “Do we seek to give thanks no matter what? Or do we seek to fill our lack with this world? What we seek tells the story of where we dwell.” I realized my heart needs to focus on the Kingdom and God’s greater purpose through my life not what the things I lack. I think God allows certain things to help us come to such realizations. And He’s never far from us as we do. I pray that you experience His presence and find your joy, delight, and strength in Him so that gratitude becomes your natural expression. I pray that you trust His loving kindness towards you as His precious daughter and live in the fullness of all the good things He has for you.

  6. Katie Nordgren says:


  7. Dee says:

    I loved this ! So so very enriched with the wisdom of the godly spirit

  8. Lolly Regan says:

    This days reading was what convicted me the most through this devo. I have been so so struggling with discontentedness. You see it feels like God asked us to leave our safe and comfortable home of 5 years and after that it has felt like everything has hit the fan. Family relations, future plans, community, and finances. I am admittedly a creature who desperately craves comfort and stability. So for me, it has felt so difficult to believe God does want to help, God does provide, God is in control, God wants what is good for me, God will give me peace, God will give me what I need. But I am realizing that my heart has been dwelling in the world and all I want out of it, not in God’s perfect plan. But honestly, I don’t know how to start believing all those things about God. I suppose all I can ask if for God to help me to believe in Him as provider, protector, ruler of all. God please help me believe in you. In your goodness. SHE’S please pray for me. I need it. My heart is sick with sorrow and disappointment. But it longs to taste the peace that surpasses all understanding.

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