|Thankfulness is preceded by thoughtfulness.
The roots of the word thankful are from the proto-Germanic noun, “thanka”, which means “a thinking of, a remembering.” That etymology helps us understand not just the origins of the word but where the attitude of thankfulness comes from in our lives as well.
When it comes to raising grateful kids, I tend to (wrongly) think that thankfulness can come from the outside-in. That the right amount of perspective and convincing from me will generate a grateful heart. “Don’t you realize how much we have? Be thankful!”
This approach doesn’t work for kids, and it doesn’t work for us.
True thankfulness flows from the inside-out. And where it starts is precisely where its German root identifies the source to be – our thoughts. “A thinking of, a remembering” is always what leads to real gratitude.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, a day we remember those who lost their lives in combat, making the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could experience and enjoy the freedoms we have today in our country. It’s easy to let the day come and go without much thoughtful reflection – I know it is for me. And as we’ve just discussed, when we don’t think deeply, our thankfulness stays in the shallows. Why? Thankfulness is preceded by thoughtfulness.
So, for just a moment, pause and THINK with me on the reality that many nations in our world today do not enjoy the freedoms that we do in our country such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to own property, and freedom to have choice over our trade or occupation.
May we be a thoughtful people, and may that make us a thankful people.
P.S. This weekend we begin a new teaching series, Everyday Saints, exploring how God works in the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary ways. Hope you’ll join us at 9:15 or 11am!