In about 8 days, it will be Thanksgiving. The time when we sit around a table with our families and eat lots of turkey and cranberry sauce. Most importantly we will be giving thanks to God for the blessings He has given. But since we still have 8 days until then, I want to take a minute to evaluate what it means to have a grateful heart. Paul used the word overﬂowing to describe how great our thankfulness should be.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. -Colossians 2:6-7
Charles Stanley lists out some great characteristics of what it looks like to be overflowing with thankfulness. People who have grateful hearts are:
Positive. Thankfulness keeps us focused on what Lord is doing in our lives.
Aware of God’s presence. When we know that the Lord is actively involved in our lives and helping us through every difficulty and hardship, we can sense His presence.
Humble. We recognize the Lord as the source of every good thing and admit we had nothing to do with it.
Peaceful. When we place our trust in Christ and watch for His activity in our lives, we have His peace.
Thoughtful of others. Gratitude makes us sensitive to the needs of those around us and eager to help them.
Generous. When we recognize all that God has done for us, we look for ways to pass blessings on to others.
Unselfish. If we’re thankful, we are willing to joyfully share whatever we have.
Expressive. Seeing what God is doing in our lives motivates us to tell others and encourage them to trust Him.
Friendly. Thankful people are pleasant and kind to others.
Contagious. A grateful attitude displays the character of Jesus in our lives, and that is very appealing to those around us.
Motivated. Thankfulness prompts us to give, share, and serve.
Servant Hearted. We want to serve Christ by giving ourselves away to others.
Faithful. After watching God repeatedly work in our lives, we develop great trust in Him that influences our thinking.
Fruitful. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we desire to be used by our heavenly Father to achieve His purposes.
Joyful. Gratitude produces deep, abiding joy because we know that God is working in us, even through difficulties.
Thankfulness is a choice. If it’s lacking in us, we must decide to change. As we acknowledge God’s wonderful blessings this Thanksgiving, lets be intentional and ask Him to give us grateful hearts. When we are willing to do that He will begin transforming our lives. Then His characteristics of goodness, love, kindness, and generosity will pour out of us. Then we will be truly overflowing with gratitude.