1 Thessalonians 5: 18:
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
We are creatures of habit.
We have some good habits and some bad habits.
We are largely what we are because of the habits that we have.
Some of our habits have been developed carefully and deliberately.
We have just drifted into others and adopted them without deliberation.
Can you remember, when you were a child. your Mom and Dad would say to you,
"Now, what are you supposed to say?"
They reminded us to say, "Thank you," when someone gave you something.
Our parents were trying to instill within us the habit of expressing our thanks.
The words of our texts say, "In everything give thanks."
Develop the habit of giving thanks, and then continue the habit.
We should not need a national holiday to remind us to give thanks.
It should be our normal manner of living.
The giving of thanks is a habit to be learned rather than some spontaneous and accidental thing.
It is a habit that can be learned.
Some of us have never thought of constant, habitual thanksgiving as being a habit that God wanted us to have.
When you discover the source of a gracious thanksgiving attitude,
you will find that it began by the development of a habit.
It is something we do not learn instinctively.
People are not born grateful.
We must teach our children to be thankful and grateful.
We must set the example for them.
The giving of thanks is a habit to be learned.
We do not become grateful instinctively.
We acquire the attitude of gratitude that expresses itself in words and actions.
We wonder why only one of the lepers returned to give thanks. (Luke 17: 11-19)
Perhaps, that one leper had developed the habit of recognizing good things, and then expressing gratitude for them.
We must give attention to our habits.
First, we must form our habits, and then, practice them.
Our habits make us into who we are.
If you are ungrateful, it could be that you have never opened your eyes
and developed the habit of expressing thanks for the things that come to you.
"For all that God in mercy sends --
For health and children, home and friends;
For comfort in the time of need,
For every kindly word or deed,
For happy thoughts and holy talk,
For guidance in our daily walk --
In everything give thanks!
For verdant grass and lovely flowers,
For songs of birds, for hum of bees,
For the refreshing summer breeze,
For hill and plain, for stream and wood --
In everything give thanks!
For the sweet sleep, which comes with night,
For the returning morning light,
For the bright sun that shines on high,
For the stars glittering in the sky --
For these and everything we see,
0 Lord, our heart we lift to Thee;
In everything give thanks!
-- Ellen Tupper
The great William Law said,
"If anyone would tell you the shortest and surest way to happiness, he must tell you to make it a rule
to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.
For it is certain that when whatever seems calamity happens to you,
if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing."
He is telling us to look for the things for which we can thank God.
We will always find a multitude of things for which we can be grateful.
The giving of thanks is a habit that should be learned.
The giving of thanks will produce joy.
It should be maintained and developed -- not just to show courtesy, but because it will produce joy for all concerned.
The expression of thanks and gratitude brings joy to the heart of the Heavenly Father.
There is nothing that will bring more delight to our hearts than to have our loved ones say,
"I love you" or "Thank you."
I truly believe that God's heart rejoices when we say to Him, "Thank you."
Too many of us go to Him with our hands out.
The giving of thanks brings great joy to others.
How long has it been since you have thanked your husband or wife and told them have much you appreciate them?
Joy will come into your own heart, when you stop to say, "Thank you."
A little boy was counting the good things and the bad things that had happened in his life.
He counted the good things first, and became so happy about them that he forgot the bad things.
The giving of thanks will always strengthen faith in the goodness of God.
The first step in effective prayer is praise.
Enter the presence of God thanking Him for all He has done for you.
It will do something good for your heart, your faith, and your gratitude.
Paul had this in mind when he wrote,
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your request be made known unto God." (Philippians 4: 6)
If you do not thank God for His blessings upon you, you will weaken your own faith.
To be habitually thankful is to deepen your love for God and for others.
This love can be cultivated, and it will grow.
One of the best ways to cultivate love for each other is to develop the habit of giving thanks.
To be habitually thankful will encourage an optimistic and hopeful outlook on life.
All of us have more pessimism than we should.
We can always see the hole instead of the doughnut.
This is because we are selfish.
We must overcome this tendency to self-centeredness.
The Latin word, optimus, means best.
The Latin word, pessimus, means worst.
To be habitually thankful is to discover the beauty of living.
Life can be beautiful if we look for the flowers.
If we develop the habit of being sensitive and of being aware of the good things that come along in life,
life will be more beautiful.
The habit of giving thanks can be developed.
How do we develop this habit?
We must begin by being grateful today.
Grateful is the memory of the heart.
Consciously, deliberately, we must determine that we are going to be grateful.
We must do this again and again, until it becomes an automatic expression of our life.
It must become the expression of our soul.
Surely, everyone of us, even the most unfortunate among us, have many things for which to be grateful.
We must search for that for which we can be grateful.
We must learn to express gratitude even for the little things.
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you."
God wants us to develop this habit of expressing thanks.
He is not glorified by our groanings.
He is honored and glorified by our expression of thanks.
The art of thanksgiving is thanks-living.
It is gratitude in action.