Let's brush up on our gratitude skills! What does the Bible say about gratitude? When we receive blessings, it should be a natural overflow of our hearts to show thankfulness to the one that granted the blessing.
6 days ago as I write this, I welcomed our third son into the world. There was lots of pain and honestly a lot of screaming, yet once that little baby lay on my stomach, I wasn't thinking about all the discomfort, but instead, I was filled with gratitude.
Pain often produces blessings. Regardless if your blessing was born out of pain or God has just decided to lavish blessing on his child, your heart should be filled with gratitude.
What does the Bible say about gratitude? Let's find out.
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What Does the Bible Say about Gratitude?
Just how many times is the word 'gratitude' mentioned in the Bible? In our English translations, it's hard to account for because we have variations of the word gratitude such as gratefulness, grace, or favor.
There are many passages that talk about being grateful. We should be giving thanks often for many of God's deep blessings. The Psalms are filled with passages about gratitude and gratefulness. Take Psalms 100 for example.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
We are to enter his courts with praise and give thanks to him. Why should we give thanks with a grateful heart? It takes our minds off ourselves and puts it back on our Father in heaven who is truly in charge.
We were never intended to be fully sufficient in this life, we need our sustainer Jesus to guide us in our daily lives. When we give thanks to him, we are acknowledging all that He is, and all we lack.
It's easy to complain, isn't it? Especially in more privileged parts of the world, we are experts at complaining, but when we give thanks with a grateful heart, we leave no room for complaining!
God has much to say about Thanksgiving! He knows us best, and he knows that we need to have a grateful heart. I love the passage in Philippians 4:6,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6 NIV
What I find most insightful about this passage is that God tells us that with thanksgiving the peace of God will guard our hearts. Our thanksgiving can literally lead to peace in our hearts! Our spirit, mind, and heart can be refreshed by the presence of God in our lives, and one way to do this is to bring our grateful hearts to him.
What does the Bible say about gratitude?
- We should practice it (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- God deserves it (Psalms 136:1)
Want more resources for your gratitude journey? As you learn more about what does the Bible say about gratitude, the gratitude vault might be a powerful resource for you. My gratitude vault is filled with gratitude scripture cards, exercises, coloring pages, phone art, and even a gratitude journal. Be sure to download and save all the resources.
How Many Times is Gratitude Mentioned in the Bible?
The word "gratitude" translates to chariti (and its variations) in Greek. It shows up 157 times in the Bible. Most of the time this word is translated to favor or grace. The literal translation for gratitude only shows up twice in the NIV.
Chariti or grace shows up in very important places in the Bible, including one of the first in describing Jesus in Ephesians 2:8.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8 NIV
How Many Times is Thankfulness Mentioned in the Bible?
In English, we often think of 'thankfulness' and 'gratitude' as synonyms, yet they are not according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Gratitude is a state of being grateful whereas thankfulness is being conscious of the benefit received.
Thankfulness is translated in Greek as eucharisto, and is mentioned 38 times in the New Testament.
What are some examples of Thankfulness in the Bible?
A common theme woven throughout the Bible is an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving. Choosing gratitude honors God and blesses the one expressing the gratitude.
Although there are hundreds of examples and stories of gratitude in the Bible, we are only going to touch on a few.
A Thankful Mary
Although in this passage mary is praising and glorifying God, she also is expressing gratitude. What is so unique about this passage? She had just received news of her virgin pregnancy, and yet she submitted and gave praise and gratitude back to her Lord.
She understood the gravity of her situation and yet her soul did what was right and praised God.
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.Luke 1:46-55 NIV
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
Hannah's story of infertility and trusting God for a baby is enough to make my mother's heart ache with pain for her. Yet, the idea of giving her son up is enough to make me sick to my stomach. Her obedience and trust in the Lord is something I can only strive and hope for.
Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.1 Samuel 1:28 NIV
Worship, gratitude, and thankfulness go hand-in-hand. Worship is a byproduct of a grateful heart.
The 10 Lepers
When we are considering what the Bible says about gratitude, we need to remember that not everyone around us will be practicing Biblical gratitude along with us.
We live in a sinful world, surrounded by sinful people (including ourselves!).
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”Luke 17:15-19 NIV
The lepper came back to give praise and gratitude to the one who gave him the blessing.
Examples from Jesus
God doesn't just leave learning thankfulness up to us. No, he sent Jesus as a living example of how to show gratitude.
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so.Mark 8:6 NIV
Before Jesus performed his miracle with the 5 loaves and 2 fish, he gave thanks to his Father. He directly shows us how to be grateful.
The word for 'thanks' in this passage translates to εὐχαριστοῦντες (eucharistountes) in the Greek. It translates to "good grace."
This is also the same word used at the last supper.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”Matthew 26:26 NIV
Biblical gratitude does not just mean being grateful for the blessing received, it also means acknowledging the giver. Gratitude focuses on the giver, not the gift.
“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me. “
John 11: 41-42 NIV
Also in John, Jesus goes to perform another miracle, and instead of immediately raising Lazarus he chooses to again thank his Father. What a powerful example of the importance of showing gratitude in the grandiose things in life.
Practicing gratitude in our daily life is a powerful tool. It takes the focus off ourselves and acknowledges the one who gives us all our blessings.
Gratitude in all things will bring us peace, and happiness, and it's God's will for our lives to express gratitude and thanksgiving back to him.
What does the Bible say about gratitude? It's necessary, it's fulfilling, it's commanded, and it is good for you.