What does it mean to truly be grateful? Sounds like a simple question at first.
I’ve always considered the word synonymous with “thankful” and to some extent, in the English language, they are. But what does the Bible mean when It refers to being “grateful”?
As is usually the case, my search revealed numerous Greek words used in the New Testament to express the giving of thanks. There is one word, however, that is translated, “grateful”. The word is, “EUCHARISTEO”. The word is used 39 times in the Bible. Here are a few examples:
“He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” - Romans 14:6
“He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” - Matthew 15:36
“And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity, and have mercy on us! And when He saw them He said to them, ‘Go (at once) and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cured and made clean. Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; and he fell prostate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him (over and over). And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien?’” - Luke 17:12-18
“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father I thank You that You have always heard Me.” - John 11:41
“And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘drink of it, all of you.” - Matthew 26:27
While numerous words of “thanks” focus attention upon the gift or benefit received, this unique and specific word focuses attention upon the Giver of the gift or benefit. The loaves and fishes, the healing of leprosy, the raising of a dead friend, the cup at the last supper were not the focus of Jesus’ thanks. This thankfulness, this, “gratefulness”, was an acknowledgement of the power and love, the grace and mercy of the One Giver of all good gifts, Almighty God.
What is “gratefulness”? Being grateful is the heart’s acknowledgment that there is a Greater Power from Whom all blessings flow.
Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) was weak and sickly. His early adult life was riddled with bouts of illnesses that often confined him to his bed. So often too ill to work, his few moments of health were exhausted by long hours of heavy labor just to cover his expenses.
At the age of 27, Obadiah surrendered his life to this One called, “Jesus”. He found comfort in the Scriptures and in the promise that he could always draw strength from God, Who would always be faithful during his time of weakness. His favorite passage is in the Old Testament, Lamentations 3:22-23:
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
Obadiah Chisolm wrote the lyrics to many Christian hymns. None so perfectly express the focus of true gratefulness as the following:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou has been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
It is a new morning; a new day for which to be thankful! In our gratitude, may we more fully express "gratefulness" to the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Sustainer of our hope, and the God from Whom all blessings flow.
Have a great day!