Gratitude and Thanksgiving makes life worth living

Adventist Youth (AY)
Summary
Gratitude is an underrated virtue, this program seeks to shine a light of the joys and benefits of a thankful spirit. It will engage the entire congregation in actively taking stock of the things they are grateful for while they learn about the benefits of this practice. We will also talk about thanksgiving towards God, the giver of every good gift.
Program Aim
To encourage a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving in the church
Scripture References
1 Chronicles 16:34
Theme Song(s)
560 – Let All Things Now Living
Program Audience
Preparations and resources

Print out the 1-week gratitude journal to give to each member. The 1-week journal consists of 2 pages but you can print on both sides of the same sheet. Download the PDF here or the Microsoft Word File here.

Gratitude is an underrated virtue, this program seeks to shine a light of the joys and benefits of a thankful spirit. We hope to engage the entire congregation in actively taking stock of the things you are grateful for while they learn about the benefits of this practice. We will also talk about thanksgiving towards God, the giver of every good gift.

Gratitude is one of the first things we teach children. It is not only a form of courtesy, but a reminder that all that they have is provided by their parents or guardians.

Thanksgiving is a response to someone’s previous actions towards you or something you are concerned about. The earliest references to giving thanks in the Bible are in Leviticus with reference to thanksgiving offerings. A thanksgiving offering is not a means of repaying for whatever God has given but to show a token of your appreciation.

Two reasons to give thanks to God

1 Chronicles 16

34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

AND

35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

 

Gratitude increases happiness

GRATITUDE PROMOTES HEALTH.—Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father's house? Those professed Chris­tians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion.—

Gratitude can treat depression.

REJOICING INCREASES FAITH.—It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strenghthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have,—the great mercy and love of God,—we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the good­ness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a well-spring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.

 

INGRATITUDE CLOSES THE HEART.—When the ten lepers came to Jesus for healing, He bade them go and show themselves to the priest. On the way they were cleansed, but only one of them returned to give Him glory. The others went their way, forget­ting Him who had made them whole. How many are still doing the same thing! The Lord works continually to benefit mankind. He is ever im­parting His bounties. He raises up the sick from beds of languishing. He delivers men from peril which they do not see. He commissions heavenly angels to save them from calamity, to guard them from "the pestilence that walketh in darkness" and "the destruction that wasteth at noonday" (Ps. 91: 6); but their hearts are unimpressed. He has given all the riches of heaven to redeem them, and yet they are unmindful of His great love. By their in­gratitude they close their hearts against the grace of God.—The Desire of Ages, p. 348.

Express gratitude for the blessings you have; show appreciation of the attentions you receive. Keep the heart full of the precious promises of God, that you may bring forth from this treasure, words that will be a comfort and strength to others. This will surround you with an atmosphere that will be help­ful and uplifting. Let it be your aim to bless those around you.—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 257, 258.

 

BE THANKFUL FOR DIFFICULTIES.—Have we not reason to be thankful every moment, thankful even when there are apparent difficulties in our path­way? . . . "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thes­salonians 5:18. This command is an assurance that even the things which appear to be against us will work for our good.—Ibid., pp. 253-255.

 

GRATITUDE IN SUFFERING.—Notwithstanding God's inexpressible mercy toward us, how few in our churches are truly humble, devoted, God-fear­ing servants of Christ! How few hearts are full of gratitude and thanksgiving because they are called and honored to act a part in the work of God, being partakers with Christ of His sufferings!—Testi­monies, vol. 6, p. 426.

 

EXPRESS GRATITUDE WITH HEAVENLY POLITENESS. —Christ values acts of heartfelt courtesy. When anyone did Him a favor, with heavenly politeness He blessed the actor. He did not refuse the simplest flower plucked by the hand of a child, and offered to Him in love. He accepted the offerings of chil­dren, and blessed the givers, inscribing their names in the book of life....

The desire that Mary had to do this service for her Lord was of more value to Christ than all the precious ointment in the world, because it ex­pressed her appreciation of the world's Redeemer. . . It was the outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed—The De­sire of Ages, p. 564.

  • List 5 things you are grateful to God for.
  • Express your genuine gratitude to three persons for what they mean to you or something they have done
  • For 3 or 4 groups and write a poem or song about gratitude and thanksgiving
  • Take the upcoming week to fill out the 1 Week/1 Page gratitude journal

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