Being thankful is one of the most natural things we do. We can be thankful for things, for the way things work, for events, for people or many others. We teach being thankful to our children because we want them to appreciate what we give them. It is a progression to go from a demanding baby to a thankful child. The baby cries when it wants to be fed, when it wants to sleep or just when it is unhappy. The child is thankful for flowers, for mom, for the dog, for clouds, for their sister and for anything that is just in their sight line.
Being thankful to a specific person involves much more. We know them and we know what they have done for us. We know how they have interacted and been there for us. They have gone beyond what could be expected and been there for us when we are at our worst. They understand us and are willing to give grace for the outrageous things we said and did. They were there when we were hurting most and they are still there. They don’t run away when our life gets messy.
Being thankful to God can be expressed in several ways. It can be a thankfulness for creation and the world of people on a global scale as we realize how great and powerful God must be. He takes care of people and we pray about the sick, the hungry and those in need.
Thankful to God can also be personal. Not just thankful to God for all my stuff and advantages. Not thankful for how good my life is like the Pharisee. (Luke 18:11) We are thankful that when we are at our worst in rebellion and disbelief that God loves us and that blood was shed. We can take a moment of quietness and tell Him about the ones he will forgive today. About the fears and anger as our attitude slipped today. He is the one who knows the suffering we go through and that it is really our own fault. And, He is willing to make us clean and whole again. We can be specific, and thank Him for this sin of the moment that now seems to have blood all over it and be disappearing before our eyes.
–Terry Singleton; Mesa Church of Christ