As we gather at the table this year to celebrate Thanksgiving, there are so many challenges happening around the world and maybe even in our own lives and relationships. However, I’ve learned the power of gratitude and how our gratitude can beget more gratitude in others and can then create a chain reaction that changes the atmosphere and attitudes of everyone around us.
This year, I want to focus on how Jesus’ life is full of examples of public displays of gratitude and thanksgiving to God.
As Christians, we continually navigate the beautiful yet complex truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully the Son of God. This enigmatic paradox underlines the very essence of our faith, and it’s within this intricate framework that we explore four remarkable instances from the life of Jesus, moments where His divinity and His sonship converge in profound acts of gratitude.
These four moments of thanksgiving set a profound example for us to follow.
Gratitude Leads to Humility (Matthew 11:25-26)
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do’” (Matthew 11:25-26 NIV).
Jesus offers a prayer of thanksgiving, acknowledging God’s sovereignty in revealing His truths to the humble. This teaches us that gratitude can lead to humility and a recognition of our dependence on God.
As we meditate on this humility, let’s examine our own hearts. Are we approaching God with an attitude of gratitude, recognizing our need for His guidance? Can we embrace humility as we seek to understand the mysteries of God’s Kingdom?
Gratitude is the gateway to humility. Jesus thanked God for His revelation, and our gratitude can lead us to a place of humble surrender, acknowledging that we rely on God’s wisdom and grace.
Gratitude Leads to Divine Provision (Matthew 15:36)
“Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people” (Matthew 15:36 NIV).
Jesus shows a heart of gratitude for the loaves and fish before their multiplication and the feeding of thousands. This teaches us that a heart of thanksgiving can invite divine provision and abundance.
As we reflect on this miraculous provision, let’s consider our own moments of need. Are we willing to offer thanks for what we have, no matter how little it may seem? Can we trust in God’s ability to multiply our resources and meet our needs?
Gratitude paves the way for divine abundance. In the same way Jesus gave thanks for the meager provisions, our gratitude can lead to the multiplication of blessings in our lives, families, churches and organizations. Gratitude reminds us that God is our provider.
- Gratitude Leads to a Holy Commemoration (Luke 22:17–18)
“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’” (Luke 22:17-18 NIV).
During the Last Supper, Jesus takes the bread and the cup, offering thanks for them, establishing a sacred act of remembrance. This teaches us that gratitude leads to a holy commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice.
As we contemplate this sacred meal, let us examine our own celebration of communion. Do we approach the table with hearts filled with gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice? Can we engage in a meaningful act of remembrance as we partake in the bread and cup?
Let’s remember that gratitude leads us to a reverent commemoration of Christ’s love. Just as Jesus thanked God for the elements, our gratitude can lead us to a profound remembrance of His sacrifice, reminding us of the depth of His love for us.
Gratitude Leads to a Deeper Relationship with God (John 11:41)
“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me’” (John 11:41 NIV).
Gratitude acknowledges God’s authority and sovereignty over all things, strengthening the connection between the Creator and His creation.
In John 11:41, as the stone is removed from Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus looks up and utters words of thanksgiving to His Father. This act of gratitude reveals not only His trust in God’s response but also His intimate relationship with the Father. It demonstrates that gratitude is not a mere formality but a heartfelt expression of love and communion with God.
As we seek to deepen our own relationship with God, we can learn from Jesus’s example. Gratitude becomes a bridge that draws us closer to the Father, fostering a bond of trust and intimacy. Just as Jesus thanked the Father for hearing Him, our gratitude can be a means to strengthen our connection with the One who hears our every prayer.
These four moments of Jesus’s expressions of gratitude serve as a profound example and a valuable lesson for us as His followers. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us embrace gratitude as an integral part of our daily lives and ministry, deepening our connection with our heavenly Father. Let’s follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, who shows us that thankfulness is not just a seasonal sentiment but a virtue that should permeate our daily existence.
Rob is President of OneHope. His innovative Outcome Based Ministry model and training has helped thousands of global ministries shift their paradigm and begin incorporating best practices that dramatically increase their effectiveness.
Read more by Rob Hoskins at goodnewsfl.org/author/rob-hoskins/