Thankfulness is expressed in words, but measured with actions.

Expressing gratitude and showing gratitude is not the same thing, but should work in conjunction with each other. Let me explain.

Expressing thankfulness is relatively easy. All that is required is a smile, a sincere look, and words that contain the phrase, "Thank you." Some people desire appreciation and friendship so much that the words alone satisfy their immediate need. But given enough time, these same individuals face disappointment and rejection when the thankfulness of words are not accompanied with  actions.

While it is true that almost everyone knows how to express thankfulness with words, the question is how do we complete our thankfulness with actions? In the same way that faith without works is dead, thankfulness without corresponding actions accomplishes little. So we could say that thankfulness contains two parts—expression with words and expression with action.

Words of thankfulness written on a card are wonderful and are a great expression of thankfulness, but we must go beyond words with corresponding actions.

God sent His Son to die so that we could live. Jesus took on sickness and disease for our healing. He took on poverty for our prosperity. He paid the price in full so we could receive eternal, abundant life. Our only requirement is to receive it by grace through faith. He paid, once and for all, it all.

So, how do we show our gratitude? How do we completely be thankful?

First of all, we express our thankfulness with our words. Through daily prayer, spiritual songs, and confessions of faith we acknowledge that we are grateful for the immeasurable gift we have been given.

Secondly, we must put our gratefulness into action. The ultimate act of love is giving. God loved us so much that He gave. If we say we love Him, it is only words unless we give. While love and gratitude are not measured by the size of the gift, they are measured by the generosity and consistency of the gift. A gift could be money, possessions, or a sacrifice of time. If it's valuable to you, it's valuable to God.

As a parent, one of my greatest joys is giving to my children and grandchildren. While they usually get me a gift, my joy is greatest in watching them receive their gift from me. I love them so much that I would give out of my need to bless them. That's just the way love is. It gives.

So, when it comes time to thank God for His goodness, remember this. God doesn't need your money, but your gift reflects your love and gratefulness.

If you have a home church, make a "Thankful to God" donation that will bless God's house. Once a man told me that he would give to his church except that the church didn't need it. Well, that's totally irrevelent. Giving is not based on need, but on love, obedience, and thankfulness and your gift will reflect your affection.

So, the next time you express your thankfulness to God, consider backing it up with actions. Remember, thankfulness is expressed in words, but measured with actions.

Larry Ollison Ministries
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