Christian Gratitude

Theology Refresh: Podcast for Christian Leaders

Gratitude is a virtue most worthy of our cultivation. Indeed, in all the Christian life, gratitude is to be planted, watered, dressed, and harvested. Gratitude gets at the very essence of what it means to be created, finite, fallen, redeemed, and sustained by the God of all grace.

Ingratitude was at the heart of the fall, and at the heart of what’s fallen about us to this day. “Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Romans 1:21). Again and again throughout the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, it is gratitude — giving God thanks — that is the fitting response to his gracious acts of deliverance for his people.

It was gratitude to the Father that Jesus expressed at that first Maundy Thursday table as he held out the bread and cup to his disciples (Matthew 26:27; Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17–19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). It is profound and enduring gratitude, among other things, that his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection summon in the born-again heart. And in the daily Christian life, it is the genuine giving of thanks for God’s gifts that keeps us from idolatry and sinful asceticism (1 Corinthians 10:30–31; 1 Timothy 4:3–4).

Ann Voskamp is one of today’s leading voices on the cultivation of gratitude. Her book One Thousand Gifts has at its chief concern our fresh awareness and practice of gratitude to God. Ann has encouraged thousands, even millions, to make intentional effort to slow down, take stock, and express gratitude to the glory of God.

In this 12-minute episode, Ann helps us stop, count our many blessings, name them one by one, and in particular thank God for his greatest gift — the gift of himself and his Son, in his self-giving death for us, and in his resurrected life in which he ever lives to be our eternal enjoyment. (For more on the biblical story of gratitude, see “The True Story of Thanksgiving.”)