A Thankful Heart
A thankful heart determines the kind of attitude we have in life, the kind of disposition we display every day, the kind of expressions we have on our face, and represents the kind of faith that we have. A thankful heart is extremely important.
One of the greatest men who ever lived was Dr. Billy Graham. He preached to more people and saw more people come to Christ than anybody in modern history. He once said, “A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord.”
A thankful heart represents a humble spirit where we recognize that we did not create the things that we enjoy. A heart that fails to give thanks is one that begins to take blessings for granted and take credit for all accomplishments. G.K. Chesterton said, “The critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
A thankful heart requires that we take the effort to thank not only God but also people. During the Pandemic, Jeff Gerson was placed in New York City’s NYU Langone Tisch Hospital with COVID-19. When he was intubated, he lost consciousness. He woke up one month later and had no memory of his recovery.
But he wanted to thank the heroes who saved his life. He tracked down the names of all 116 doctors, nurses, and therapists by looking through his insurance records and treatment charts. He then sent a handwritten note of thanksgiving to each one of them. He explained, “Healthcare workers often go without appreciation and the point of my letter was to thank them for what they did for me.”
Each of us is where we are because someone helped us get there. A terrible thing is to develop an arrogant attitude that assumes we are responsible for the accomplishments that we enjoy. Remember—if you ever see a turtle on a fence post, you know he didn’t get there by himself!
One of the marks of genuine thanksgiving is when we can thank God for the tough times of life. The tough times are when we learn the best lessons. Paul reminded us that we should rejoice in our suffering because suffering brings endurance, and endurance brings character, and character brings hope, and hope never disappoints. (Romans 5:3-5)
Rev. Martin Rinkart was a 31-year-old German pastor when the 30 Years War broke out. He ministered during the war, the Plague, and a time when there was very little food. He wrote that he saw “30 or 40 people fighting in the streets over a dead cat or crow.” He buried 4,480 people during that time!
Martin always encouraged people to take refuge in God. Their ultimate security must be with God and not with the military. Through all the suffering, grief, and deaths, Rinkart always thanked God for the blessings he enjoyed.
In that setting, he wrote the hymn, Now Thank We All Our God. It became the second most sung hymn in Germany behind A Mighty Fortress is Our God. It began as a prayer before meals and later became a national hymn. It taught people to thank God even in the toughest times.
A thankful heart is not developed by receiving thanks but giving thanks. And a thankful heart isn’t active just one day a year, but every day!
A thankful heart is a healthy heart!