Then and Now Daily Devotional and Bible Devotions for Teens
<< Then & Now for Teens, with Dan Darling

Then & Now - Week of November 16

  • 2009 Nov 16

Gratitude is a Good Thing 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

We've got two weeks until Thanksgiving, but I'm afraid that we've already swept this beautiful holiday under the rug in our rush to embrace all things-Christmas. I love Christmas, I love the lights, the red cups at Starbucks, and I love the music. I really love that it forces the world to sit up and notice that Jesus Christ, both God and man, came into this world to assume the sins of mankind and offer redemption and forgiveness.

But I don't want us to forget Thanksgiving. That's why I'm writing two columns in a row. I think it's that important.

Americans have lost the art of gratitude. And why not? We've lived in a country that has promised us everything we want and as fast as we want it. Gratitude is a Biblical trait. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks."

That's hard to do. That not only means that we thank God for the good times, when everyone has a job, when our families are intact, and when we "get" everything we want, but also in those times when life doesn't go our way. We're grateful even though other people on the block have nicer cars, better shoes, and cooler friends.

How do we be thankful? Here are few tips:

Visit someone less fortunate than you. I'll never forget the images I saw in a mission trip to India several years ago. What sticks in my mind is a young teenage girl proudly showing off her home—a thatched-roof hut, with a dung floor and a mud walls. If you can't go to India, visit a mission or homeless shelter.

Stop thinking your life is unfair. Your life really isn't unfair. In fact, you probably have more blessings than you deserve. Instead, start praising God for the abundance, for the cool things you do have.

Realize that life isn't about stuff. Life really isn't about stuff. Its about something more. Its about purpose and meaning and following God's will. Stuff fades and cracks and peels. It quickly becomes irrelevant. In a couple of years my iPhone will make a nice paper weight and we'll laugh at how slow and out of touch it is.

Know that everything you have comes from God. James says that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Your life is a gift from God. Everything and everyone in your life was given by God. So enjoy it, praise God for it, and know that He has given you just exactly what you've have needed.

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at

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