I always thought being grateful and being thankful were the same thing. Google says to be grateful is a feeling, and to be thankful is an act. I had to think about that, but I tend to agree.
When someone does something good for me I feel grateful, and offer my thanks either in words or gesture of appreciation. Of course choosing to give thanks could proceed feeling grateful, or even exclude grateful feelings altogether. Saying thanks can be an automatic behavior, or a polite social norm expressed when someone provides a service or product, like when a stranger holds the door open.
But being grateful seems to involve deeper heart appreciation, which sometimes can even deepen as the years go by. Gratefulness is a treasuring or valuing something or someone, that wells up, and may involve deep emotions and commitments. These grateful feelings can then spills over in actions and even become a life outlook and attitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.” The Message Bible translation says, “Thank God no matter what happens. This is how God wants you to live.” When it comes to giving thanks, it seems to be a command, not an option.
I can choose to give God thanks in all situations because I know He is good and always has my ultimate best in mind, though sometimes it is not easy. But as I choose to move forward in thanking God for His goodness and many blessings, a wonderful sense of gratitude spreads across my being, and I can truly bask in both the joyful act of thankfulness and the deep emotion of gratitude.
A grateful heart overflowing in a thankful outlook…it’s the way I want to live!
Juanita Edge, Communication Director