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Being thankful for what we do have, instead of being resentful for what we don’t have, isn’t the mindset of most people. Growing up we may have heard people say, “Count your blessings,” and this has a biblical basis to it that others may reject. Focusing on Jesus and what He made available so that we can have an amazing and prosperous life keeps us from being self-centered, and helps us find our joy. “Rejoice always…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18, NKJV).
If we want a fruitful life, thanking and praising God, first, for all the good He does in our lives brings it to pass. We must remember that all the breakthroughs we experience, even down to the smallest victory, are due to God, not ourselves. We can do what we know to do, but He’s the one who causes increase when we need it the most. “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7). Giving thanks is part of the watering process that God honors.
Jesus knew the power of thanksgiving very well. During His ministry, when He fed large crowds with what looked like very little, He deliberately gave thanks to God, first. A miracle followed. “So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand…” (Mark 8:6-9, NKJV). There’s no telling what miracles can happen in our lives when we have the faith to thank God even before we see anything.
Jesus again demonstrated the power of thanksgiving when He raised Lazarus from the dead. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth…” (John 11:41-44). Lazarus had been dead for several days before Jesus even arrived, yet Jesus still gave thanks in advance. With faith like this, God can breathe life into any dead situation in which we find ourselves.
No matter how bad things are, there’s always something for which to be thankful. We can either wallow in our situation or give thanks to God. The choice is ours.