GREETINGS in the precious name of Jesus!
Right now, people are getting ready to celebrate THANKSGIVING — so this month, I want to encourage you from God’s Word about how to develop thankfulness every day of your life.
But before I dive into this powerful theme, I want to express my own thankfulness to God for you and all you do as a partner with this ministry. When I call people partners, I mean this very sincerely — what we do is completely connected to what you do. Together, as we obey the Great Commission, we are working to take the liberating truths of God’s Word to people all over the planet.
I often remind you, along with all our partners, that there are scores of people who do not have available to them what you have available to you. They live where there are no good churches to attend, and they are famished for the sound teaching of God’s Word. When we send them the Word through this ministry, it is an answer to the cry of their hearts!
Proverbs 10:21 says, “The lips of the righteous feed many….” This verse tells me we have a God-given responsibility to feed others God’s Word. That is what we have dedicated our lives and our ministry to fulfill. And we are thankful that God sent you to help us! We are doing it with you! Denise and I want you to know how thankful and grateful we are to God, and to you as well, that you are a part of our partner family!
Years ago, I made a personal decision to develop thankfulness in my life and to practice being grateful to God in everything (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). When people ask me, “Rick, how are you?” I nearly always answer by saying, “I am grateful!”
You see, there is always something we can be grateful and thankful about, but we must choose to develop a grateful and thankful attitude.
In Second Timothy 3:2, Paul said that in the last days, “…Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful….” Since we know that being unthankful will be a temptation people will be prone to fall into in the last days, we must determine in our hearts to instead run in the other direction and be known for being thankful and grateful!
Let’s look at what the word “thankful” means in the original Greek language of the New Testament. The Greek word translated “thankful” that is most often used in the New Testament is charistos. The word charistos is a derivative of the word charis, which is the word for “grace.” However, when the word charis is transformed into charistos, it more fully expresses the idea of one whose heart is thankful, grateful, or appreciative for various reasons.
The Greek word charistos depicts an inward awareness of having been fortunate or well-treated. Thus, the word “thankful” — translated from charistos — projects the deep inward feeling of one who is thankful, grateful, or appreciative for what he has received or how he has been treated.
But let’s look at those three words “thankful,” “grateful,” and “appreciative” for a moment. The word “thankful” is concerned with a person’s attitude toward his good fortune rather than his feelings toward anyone responsible for it. It suggests that someone is relieved or pleased about a situation or turn of events.
But someone who is grateful realizes that someone else has helped him or treated him kindly, and he has warm feelings toward that person. Thus, the word “grateful” suggests more of an impulse to thank someone than the word “thankful” does.
Last, the word “appreciative” shows that a person recognizes the merits or appeal of something and expresses his or her recognition of it.
All these words — “thankful,” “grateful,” and “appreciative” — are included in the word “thankful, translated from the Greek word charistos, and are the expressions of a person who is thankful that he has experienced blessings in some form; is grateful toward the person or people who treated him kindly; and wants to express how appreciative he is for the kindness that was shown.
Now let’s look at what the Holy Spirit is referring to in Second Timothy 3:2 when He says society at large will become unthankful in the last days. The word “unthankful” is the Greek word acharistos, which is charistos with an a affixed to the front of it. In Greek, that little prefix a has a canceling effect. Thus, acharistos describes a person who was once thankful, but something occurred, and his thankfulness has been canceled. That person who was thankful has become unthankful.
The meaning of charistos — the Greek word translated “thankful” — is radically altered when that little a is attached to the front of it. It literally changes the meaning from thankful to unthankful.
Again, the word acharistos signals that although a person’s thankful attitude previously prevailed in his life, somehow the same person has lost his thankful, grateful, and appreciative attitude and is now unthankful. Thoughts of unthankfulness, ingratitude, and unappreciativeness now fill his heart and mind. This person is not thankful for the good he has experienced or for the blessings he has received. He is not grateful toward the person or people who have treated him kindly. He has become unthankful, filled with ingratitude, and unappreciative of what others have done for him.
Put simply, the Greek word acharistos pictures an ingrate.
Although we’re talking about developing an attitude of thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation in our lives, the word “unthankful” is profoundly important. It is imperative that we understand what Paul was prophesying concerning a last-days age in which people will become so unthankful, ungrateful, and unappreciative that they feel entitled to everything.
When a person feels entitled to everything, he loses his thankfulness for nearly everything. Why would a person be thankful when he feels he’s entitled to everything he has? This sense of entitlement is destructive to individuals, and it leads society as a whole into a state of unthankfulness — exactly what the Holy Spirit prophesied would emerge at the end of the age.
Many people today are seeking their own rights and ways, and it is leaving them dissatisfied, empty, and disillusioned. Although those who fit this description are on an endless quest to please self, they have found true, lasting pleasure to be ever just beyond their grasp. As many things as these people own — and as many benefits as are heaped on them that they didn’t have to labor for — they don’t feel thankful, because they feel entitled to it all. They have never learned the spiritual law that happiness is only obtainable where there is a thankful heart.
Unthankfulness is so wicked that in Luke 6:35, Jesus connected it with evil. He said, “…Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Jesus’ words position the characteristic of being “unthankful” in the same category as being “evil,” which tells us that an unthankful attitude is evil in God’s sight. The way God sees it, it is, in truth, spiritually criminal not to be thankful for what we have in life, even if it seems like we have little compared to someone else’s blessings.
Even if we believe we’ve worked hard and earned what we have, we still should be profoundly thankful that all we have was given to us by God. Our jobs and opportunities could have been given to someone else, but they were graciously given to us.
Others who need a job and a salary would be thankful to have your position and your income. There are people all over the world who do not have shelter, warmth, or clean water, but you likely have access to these blessings every day. When you remember that, it will help you to be thankful for what you have and for every blessing that comes your way.
The Bible commands us to “be ye thankful” and to “in every thing, give thanks” (see Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even if things seem to be going wrong all around us, we can stop to count our blessings! We may feel besieged by need at the present moment, but the fact is, we each have many reasons to be thankful. This is why I have chosen to be grateful and thankful every day of my life!
Perhaps you have already adopted this mindset in your own life. But to help you in your desire to be even more thankful and grateful, I want to give you several Bible verses concerning “thankfulness” that you can meditate on.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
This verse encourages you to give thanks to God in whatever you do or are asked to do for Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
This verse says you are to give thanks to God in everything — not for everything.
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving,
and tell of all thy wondrous works.
This verse says that we are to “publish” with the voice of thanksgiving. Maybe you don’t publish books, articles, or blogs — but when you make your posts on social media, make sure you publish posts that show you have a thankful heart to God and to others!
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise
shall continually be in my mouth.
Would others say your mouth is continually filled with praise and thankfulness? Make it your aim to be known as a thankful and grateful person!
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth
will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
Do you express a thankful attitude to God before your children and grandchildren as this verse instructs you to do? What do your children and grandchildren predominantly hear you say about your blessings and your attitude toward God who gives those blessings?
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises
unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness
in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
Do you start your day by expressing your thankfulness to God for His lovingkindness? Do you end your day by expressing your thankfulness for His faithfulness?
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
This verse indicates we’re to maintain a lifestyle of thanksgiving. Does God see you as a person who is continually thankful and grateful — or as someone who is always griping and complaining about something?
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits….
Do you take time to remember all the good things God has done for you and to let Him know how thankful you are for all of it?
O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known
his deeds among the people.
Do you give thanks to the Lord by telling others about all the wonderful deeds He has done in your life? According to this verse, God longs for you to make known His deeds to others!
I understand this letter is a little longer than usual, but since people are going to be gathering soon for Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to encourage you this month to make a decision to be more thankful — and to give you some Bible verses to help you cultivate these characteristics of thankfulness and gratefulness in your life!
As our own family gathers around the table for Thanksgiving this year, we will each take a moment to express what we are thankful and grateful for — and it will include thanking God for connecting us with you! WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR YOU!
Before I sign my name to this letter, let me say that if there is anything we can be praying with you about, please let us know. Just call us at 1.800.742.5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The moment we hear from you, we’ll release our faith for God to move mightily on your behalf!
We love you and thank God for you!
Rick and Denise Renner
Along with Paul, Philip, and Joel Renner and our ministry team