Being Thankful Is Different Thank Giving Thanks

Did you know there are only two verses in the whole Bible that command us to be grateful or thankful?

Colossians 3:15

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Hebrews 12:28

28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;

That’s it.  Just those two.  You might be thinking, “What about 1 Thessalonians 5:17, where Paul tells us to give thanks?”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul does command us to give thanks in everything here, but there’s a difference between giving thanks and being thankful.

Being thankful is something you are – it’s a state of being – while giving thanks is something you do.  Now you’re probably thinking that the difference there is as mighty fine line.  If you stop and think about it, though, there’s a very big difference between them.

Luke 17:11-19 tells of a time when Jesus heals 10 lepers.  After being healed, only one came back to glorify God and to give thanks.  If you were to ask those other nine lepers who didn’t return to give thanks to Jesus if they were thankful for being cleansed of leprosy, what do you think they would have said?  Of course they were thankful!  The problem is they didn’t return to give thanks.

God is concerned about our being thankful, but He’s just as concerned about our giving thanks, too.  He doesn’t want our thanks because He needs it, but because WE need it.  It’s good for us to say out loud what we feel in our hearts.  When we stop acknowledging God (or anyone else) for the things they do for us, it’s very easy to slip into a mindset of entitlement where we think we deserve it instead.

So get in the habit of not only being thankful, but giving thanks as well.