Developing a thankful heart is a value my husband and I want to instill in our children, but this task can also be a difficult for us adults too. Even as I try to teach my children a lesson about having a thankful heart, I notice out of the corner of my eye the worn linoleum in the kitchen and the tired carpet in the living room, and I think how nice it would be to rip it all out and have nice, new hardwood floors throughout the house. That would make me happy, then I could be thankful for this house. Then my thoughts will wander to how else we could update the fifteen-year-old kitchen and how that would make me thankful for this house. The list could go on and on. Somehow, I have missed my own lesson.
How can we really develop a thankful heart?
First, we need to focus on the eternal more than temporal. Second Corinthians 4:18 instructs us to “… fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV).
So often, not even on purpose, we equate blessings with material gain. Yes, material possessions can be blessings, but sometimes we put too much emphasis on them. As evidenced by my old kitchen, material things are temporary. They break, get worn out, or go out of style. But the grace of God and the goodness of God is forever. The salvation we receive from Jesus never gets worn out.
To develop at thankful heart, we have to shift our focus from a worldly view to a heavenly one. We should follow the directions given in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (NIV).
I know it can be difficult these days to not focus on worldly pursuits when we are bombarded left and right with images of what we should have, what we should do, and how we should look. We need to pray and ask the Lord to help us focus on what is truly important; not on earthly treasures that fade and fall apart, but on eternal treasures that will draw us closer to Him.
I want to challenge you today to make a list of your blessings and focus on the non-material blessings in your life. I think you with find that you are extremely rich.
About the Author: Dana Herndon is a writer, blogger, and a middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, paddle board, and sometimes run. She blogs about faith, family, and enjoying the everyday life at danaherndon.com.