The Importance of Expressing Gratitude

Why take or make time to express gratitude? Because without it, we might be tempted to doubt goodness or how long good will last. Gratitude fills the heart with light and joy – enough to conquer any doubt!

By Amy Sparkman

Categories: Gratitude, Gratitude (Thanksgiving)

Psalm 95:
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God…."

My children attend a summer camp where gratitude is expressed day in and day out in all different ways. They high five and tap knuckles. They belt out hymns to God and camp songs of praise for a job well done or a personal victory. They start each day with an all-camp meeting to express gratitude for the day ahead. And they share fruitage from the day's activities before bed each night.

Why? Why take the time, why make the time, why spend so much time expressing gratitude? Because without it, we get lost in the sea of life that wears us out and drags us down into the depths of discouragement, despair, despondency, and defeat. It's too easy to feel like a victim of circumstance and injustice, of other people's selfishness and no one's care, of electronic devices and overscheduled lives. Suddenly, we begin to question the good in life and doubt how long it will last – question its reality, its substance.

Gratitude lifts us above that surging sea into the light of Truth – the light that shines steadily and strongly, illuminating our direct relationship to God as His beloved children. Gratitude reminds us that God is supreme, infinite, and all good – that He governs, guards, and guides us all of the time, each step of the way throughout our lives. As we are reminded in Proverbs, "In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path" (3:6).

When we take the time to stop…and look…and listen…for evidence of God's love for man throughout our day, we will find truly amazing reasons to express gratitude – heartfelt, pure, and rock-solid. Every time we see and acknowledge good it, we open our thought to giving and receiving more of the good that truly is substantial and lasting.

The Psalms are filled with suggestions for how to praise God. But our own lives are filled with reasons to praise God. And it's not just at summer camp. Instead, we can make it a family tradition to share our gratitude with one another each day. You might express it over dinner or at bedtime, before heading off to school and work or through a midday text message or email. The important thing is to do it – think of it and then express it! Gratitude is our highest form of praise to God. And God gives us meaning and purpose and direction every single day. Our job is to glorify Him in all that we do – and that always begins with gratitude.

Psalm 100:
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

Make it a family activity to find Bible verses that praise God – that thank God for being God! Check out Psalms 90-100 for starters. Then, look out at your world to see all of the ways in which God works in our lives each day and thank God for them. Do it thoughtfully and creatively. Send a love note, draw a picture, write a poem, give a hug, smile from your heart, pat your dog, wish the cashier a good day, meet the deliveryman at the door and thank him, hug away your frustrations, laugh away your worries, hold hands with joy, and carry in your pocket a deep sense of peace. When you come together with family or friends, be sure to share your stories – both of what you do and of what happens when your heart is full of gratitude.