Is Giving Thanks an Obligation or a Gift?

We talk a lot about gratitude this time of year.

Like a lot of other things, we get the notion of gratitude turned around. We act like gratitude’s an obligation, something we owe to God. You’d think He commanded us to be thankful because He needs our thanks.

When you say it that way it sounds silly, doesn’t it? God doesn’t need anything from us. He’s doing just fine. Thankfulness isn’t a requirement, an obligation, or a burden. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm our authentic identity and renew our connection to God.

Gratitude is a gift we give ourselves. When we express our thanks, we remind ourselves that we’re stewards rather than owners.

Gratitude allows us to hold everything—achievement, finances, family, health—loosely, with open hands. God wants us to live with gratitude because it’s the only way we can live in authentic peace. Gratitude allows us to let God be God.

There’s some freedom in that.

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