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Giving Thanks vs. Being Thankful

By Kurt Bomer

Avery County



Have you ever thought about the difference between being thankful– and giving thanks? I believe there is a big difference.

First, let’s look at it practically. Being thankful usually is an emotional response to good times. Giving thanks, on the other hand, is an action we take, regardless of the circumstances.

Next, let us look at it Biblically. Did you know that only twice the Bible says to be thankful? But hundreds of times it says to give thanks. Let me point out just a few.

In all circumstances.   1Th 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

When starting out for battle.  2Ch 20:21 “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendor of holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”

As part of Temple worship.   2Ch 31:2 “Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions—each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites—to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the LORD’s dwelling.”

While they were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah 12:31 “I had the leaders of Judah go up on top off the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed on top off the wall to the right, toward the Dung Gate.”

As part of the worship service. Psalms 9:1 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David. “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

When you’re surrounded by your enemies and in trouble.  Psalms 106:47 “Save us, LORD, our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” 

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper.  1Corinthians 10:16 “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”

For our salvation.  Psalms 118:21 “I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.”

When you can’t sleep at night.  Psalms 119:62 “At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.”

When you’re depressed. [Psalms 43:5 NIV] 5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Paul tells us in Philippians to give thanks. Did you know he wrote that while in prison after many whippings and beatings? Do you see how very few of these situations where we are told to give thanks to having to do with how we feel at the time? Don’t just be thankful during the good times, give thanks all the time! An attitude of gratitude is good, but the act of giving thanks is much better.

Selah, (think about it)


Kurt Bomar is pastor of Walnut Grove Church located in Avery County. You are welcome to join them on Sundays at 11:00 AM for worship!