We often show appreciation for God but, do we display gratitude for him? As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, appreciation is “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” For certain we recognize and enjoy who God is in our lives. There are millions of memes, gospel songs and hymns that express joy for who God is: a healer, a friend, a counselor, amazing, mighty, powerful; the list can go on. And while we often acknowledge and enjoy the attributes of God, do we offer God purely appreciation with the absence of gratitude? Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. While appreciation embodies thankfulness and value, gratitude calls for reciprocity and a mutually beneficial relationship.
Knowing this should move us from a point of reflection to a call to action. How do we show God that we are grateful for all that he does for us aside from singing or saying it? God is not even calling for grand actions to prove our gratitude; small, repeated, intentional actions to show thankfulness is what is required . In relationships, when we feel that someone only says they value us but does nothing to prove it, we often quote, “Actions speak louder than words.” The same goes for our relationship with Christ. We cannot continue to claim to love, appreciate, and be thankful for him while neglecting to take action to show him that we are indebted to him.
What does displaying gratefulness look like? The specific action will look differently for everyone. If you thank God for for giving you a source of income, gratitude could be practicing good stewardship, using your resources to be a blessing to someone in need, or using your income to fund a greater purpose that God has for your life. If you are thankful for God giving you another day of life, gratitude could be spending time with him in daily devotion or bible study or dedicating a portion of your day to pray; after all why do we thank God for giving us another day and then give our time to everyone but him throughout the day?
By no means is this post suggesting that appreciation means absolutely nothing; we all want to be appreciated. What I am suggesting is that we be sure to move beyond just appreciating God and we start to show him by our living that we are truly thankful for all that he is and all that he does for us.