This is the first post in an ongoing blog devotional series on Gratitude. New posts in the series will be published each Monday for the next few weeks.
What do you imagine when you think of the word “gratitude”? What concepts spring to mind? What postures? Where does your mind go?
Many of us say prayers of thanks. We thank God for our food, our blessings, and a variety of different things, yet the prayers are often little more than words, passing through our throats and out of our mouths, evaporating into the air, leaving little trace they were ever even spoken.
Genuine gratitude and true thankfulness are more than words. It is a posture of the heart. It is a pausing of all the busyness of our minds, the activity of our lives. It is considering and reflecting upon God, peering deeper toward Him, and, in that moment, recognizing His greatness in our lives.
This is the posture of gratitude and thankfulness that King David modeled for us on an occasion near the end of his life when he took up an offering for the building of the temple.
Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said:
“Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.
“O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
1 Chronicles 29:10-17 (NKJV)
The posture of thankfulness modeled by David is one rooted in the fear of God and grounded in humility. He peered into God’s majesty, considered our eternal Father’s greatness, and David felt humbled. He felt humbled by the attention God gave to him and to his people. He felt honored by the blessings God poured out upon the kingdom. He felt awestruck by the selection God made of him and the people of God.
Real gratitude and thankfulness go deeper toward God. It is not mere words. It is a posture of the heart that beholds the majesty of God. From there, our hearts and words echo back a frequency to heaven. We say thank you! Thank you for choosing me! Thank you for blessing us! Thank you, almighty God, for stooping low and engaging in the lives of your servants. It is not too different from praise. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, the same Hebrew word for thanksgiving is often translated as praise.
Real gratitude springs forth from a perspective that humbles itself to recognize God’s awesomeness and how privileged we are that He considers us.