There is a long-held belief that you don’t really know something until you have taught it. Another common belief is practice makes perfect. Some simple sounding concepts, like thankfulness, take both.
The desire to teach my children things I thought I knew, taught me a depth and appreciation I may not have learned otherwise. Thankfulness was one of those things I leaned more about while teaching my children. Like most families it started with basic manners, say ‘thank-you’.
When my kids were young we would take turns during the prayer for dinner sharing one thing we were thankful for. I remember distinctly my kids mentioning things that may sound trite or insignificant, like forks. Sometimes I think they were stumped for an idea and other times they were just being silly. As a home school mom I lived in the spirit of teachable moments. Through a few open-ended questions, we all learned a little bit more about thankfulness.
This week I had the blessing of celebrating the birthday of my 2-year-old grand-daughter. When I think about people or things I am thankful for I realize they have some significance or value. My grand-daughter is no different, but what about forks?
Gratefulness verses Thankfulness
If you look up the definition of grateful and thankful you’ll notice they are almost identical. If I asked you if there’s a difference, you would probably say yes but not with a lot of confidence. If I asked you what the difference was you might find it difficult to articulate it. If I asked you the difference between a grand-daughter and a fork you could rattle off many things.
Gratefulness is an awareness of something you appreciate because of its value or usefulness. I can be grateful for forks, but the word grateful seems too weak an adjective for my grand-daughter. In fact when looking in my thesaurus under grateful the first word is thankful.
Why does Thankfulness feel stronger than Gratefulness?
To be grateful is the extent of our human ability to appreciate something’s value. Thankfulness is a spiritual term and with it comes the power of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Not once in the Bible, in any translation is the word “grateful” used. Thankful appears more than fifty times.
Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful to Him, bless His name.” (NKJV)
In Hebrew the words thanksgiving (towdah) includes the root word thankful (yadah) and both have similar definitions. It’s in the definition where the spiritual aspect becomes clear. They can both be translated into the word praise.
Some of the other translated meanings for thankful (yadah) is confess, thank offering, and cast out – like casting out your hands toward heaven in worship.
To be thankful is to worship. To thank God for His blessing, to confess His goodness, to praise Him for all He has done and all He is doing. It is a conscience declaration that you noticed God’s move in your life and circumstances.
Thankful for forks?
So when my son Nathanael said he was thankful for forks, I asked him why. The conversation over macaroni-and-cheese and fish-sticks was worship in a beautiful way. By the end of our discussion, which lasted through dinner, we had recognized God’s bounty for us. Our ability to…
- eat without getting our hands dirty
- enjoy being together
- eating not starving
- be in a warm home
- live in a safe neighborhood
We thanked God for…
- the people God had put into our lives
- the people who worked to catch the fish
- those who processed it.
- the grocery store where we buy most of our everyday needs.
Every once in a while when the kids are over for dinner one will mention thankfulness for forks. We laugh and smile knowing how profound that statement really is.
Pray with me;
Lord Father in heaven thank you for all the blessing I see, and all the blessings I have let go unnoticed. Your love and mercy are all around me. Give me eyes to see more of what You have already given to me. Thank You for giving Your Son Jesus and the people You have put into my life.
In Jesus name, Amen
It’s Your Turn,
How does your family show their thankfulness? Have you had any family discussions like my family? Would you like to try it and come back and let me know how it went. What are you thankful for?
#Thankful #worship #ElayneCross #ejc
©2015, Elayne Cross