As we approach November, many of us are turning our thoughts toward the Thanksgiving season and what better way to start those thoughts off than by reading a few Bible stories about gratitude?
I had my kids in mind when I started this post, but honestly, I think I need to be reminded of Bible stories about gratitude myself. It is so easy to get caught up in the craziness of my day that I do not pause and reflect often enough on the good things in my life. So, what does the Bible say about gratitude? Let’s begin with a few Bible stories about thankfulness.
Bible Stories about Gratitude
There are abundant verses about being thankful, but Bible stories about gratitude specifically was a little harder to come up with than I had anticipated.
During my research, I found that what I love most is how Bible characters express gratitude as God worked in their lives. Some prayed, some wept, some sang.
For us as believers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we always have something to be grateful for- God’s grace. Eternal life is something that should erupt a prayer of thanks every day. It is no small thing! This will keep us having a heart of gratitude.
As a mom of five, the importance of gratitude in my own life and teaching it to young children is high on my priority list. It sets us up for being less grumpy and more peaceful.
This post makes a great reference for family devotions. You will never regret teaching your kids an attitude of gratitude.
The Thankful Leper
The first Bible story about thankfulness that comes to mind is the one of Jesus and the thankful leper.
Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19 NKJV)
Leprosy was a terrible disease that affected the skin and nerves. It was highly contagious so those who contracted it were forced to move away from the general population and live in small “leper colonies”.
God gave specific instructions to the Children of Israel about this disease. One of which was that a priest had to be the one to confirm healing. This is why Jesus tells them to show themselves to priests.
Out of 10 lepers, only 1 came back to thank Jesus. This was the first of the Bible stories about gratitude which came to mind because it is quite obvious. I have to ask though, would I have said thank you?
I would like to think that I’d be that one also, but how often has God blessed me with something and I didn’t pause to appreciate it?
A beautiful sunrise, a morning to myself, a walk through the woods, a thoughtful friend showing up at my door with coffee, or the snuggles of my kids.
God does amazing things for us each day and the beginning of gratitude is recognizing those special moments.
If you would find a prayer and gratitude journal helpful, check out the one by The Christian Journal Co. They are nicely bound and organized and will help you focus during your devotional time.
Check out this gratitude journal to help you focus on an attitude of gratitude while growing your faith 🙂 Click image below to see more!
Bible Verses about Thanksgiving and Gratitude: Hannah
One of my favorite Bible stories about gratitude is the story of Hannah and Samuel. Hannah glorifies God with a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude when she hands Samuel off to the high priest.
The story begins in 1 Samuel chapter 1. Elkanah has two wives. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
If you know the heartache of an empty womb, you can feel Hannah’s pain. Even more than that, there was a lot more pressure on women to bear children in those days. Over and over God uses barrenness to reveal His purpose (Isaac, Joseph, and John the Baptist to name just a few).
Elkanah and his family are offering sacrifices to the Lord in Shiloh. Hannah is overwhelmed with sadness because she has not been able to have children and is found by Eli, the high priest, weeping her broken heart before the Lord.
Eli accuses her of being drunk, but Hannah quickly explains her sorrow and her petition before the Lord. She promises that if God were to give her a child, that she would dedicate him to the Lord’s service.
Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1:17-18)
Do you notice how Hannah believed? Her request had not yet been granted and yet she went away happy, in faith believing that God would give her a son.
And he does! She names him Samuel saying “because I have asked for him from the Lord”.
Hannah is faithful and keeps her promise. When Samuel is old enough to serve the high priest, he is brought back to Shiloh and Hannah reminds Eli of the night he saw her weeping and praying before the Lord.
From her grateful heart pours forth these beautiful Bible verses about thanksgiving and gratitude.
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
“Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed. (1 Samuel 2:1-3)
Read more about Hannah in “Lessons from Hannah in the Bible: the Pain of Infertility”.
Bible Stories about Thankfulness: Mary
Mary is a Bible story about gratitude which didn’t immediately come to mind, but it was her beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude that caught my attention. I have always been in awe of Mary’s submissiveness and willingness to do God’s work. Her words deserve a place among stories of thankfulness.
This is her proclamation when visiting her cousin Elizabeth.
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
It was not easy being Mary. She was claiming something impossible- a virgin with child. Seriously, I would not have believed her myself. Yet, she praises God with a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving.
Have you noticed that the Bible stories about thankfulness end in worshiping God for His goodness? Perhaps that is where we need to start on our gratitude journey. To pause and worship our God for His goodness.
A Sinful Woman Washes Jesus’ Feet
Found in Luke chapter 7, we see Jesus invited to dinner at the house of a Pharisee. Already suspicious, the men in the room are annoyed and perhaps outraged by the sinful woman who comes in uninvited and begins to wash Jesus’ feet. She is kissing his feet, anointing them with precious oils all the while weeping.
We don’t know what words of Jesus she had previously heard, but whatever they were, they made her very aware of her sinful life style. She comes to Jesus in repentant humility.
Of course, the men give Jesus a difficult time, saying that he should know what kind of woman this is.
Jesus tells them a short parable about forgiveness and gratitude and then turns to the woman and tells her that her sins have been forgiven. She leaves with a heart full of gratitude and undoubtedly followed Jesus for the rest of her life.
Bible Story About Gratitude From the Book of Daniel
The Old Testament tells us of a great king named Darius in the ancient land of Babylon. He was a good king, however misled by his own pride and tricked into signing a decree that anyone who prayed to anyone other than himself would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Daniel, a faithful servant of God and loved by Darius prayed to the one true God three times a day. He wasn’t about to stop because of some stupid decree. Of course, he gets caught praying and much to King Darius’s regret, is thrown into the den of lions.
I don’t think Daniel was too worried. He had lived a long time in the midst of hardship and knew firsthand of the Lord’s great love and power. He was ready to accept whatever God had in store. An example of the peace of God.
King Darius, on the other hand was very worried. He ran to the den early the next morning to find Daniel safe and sound. The Lord had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.
King Darius is so impressed by this he makes a decree that everyone in his kingdom should worship the God of Daniel.
King Jehoshaphat Praising God in the Midst of a Battle
The story of King Jehoshaphat (found in 2 Chronicles chapters 17-20) is one of my favorites because it teaches us how to let go and let God. The people knew they served a great God, but faith isn’t faith until it falls on hard times. Judah came under attack by several strong armies. He knows full well that they cannot fight them all off so he goes straight to the temple and asks God for help.
Don’t you love that? He doesn’t try to figure it out. He doesn’t become discouraged. He goes straight to God.
God tells them not to worry, but to trust Him. He tells them to go out to battle, but to stand still and see the power of God. The battle belongs to the Lord!
So the army gathers together and rather than fight, they sing praises to God. They are expressing gratitude before God has even helped them!
God does work a miracle and the armies begin to fight each other rather than Judah. They end up killing each other and running away.
Isn’t that a great story? See what grateful praise will get you?!
What does the Bible Say about Gratitude or Being Thankful?
Besides the Bible stories about thankfulness, what does the Bible say about being thankful?
1 Thessalonians 5:18.
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
So, basically it is the will of God that we be thankful!
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
We are to give thanks to God daily. Daily is important here because it is daily that we become overwhelmed with the stresses of life. We need to learn to counteract those stresses with gratitude daily.
King David sets a great example in the book of Psalms. He regularly shows us how to make gratitude an act of worship.
Make a joyful noise!
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
The kids and I memorize Psalm 100 every November. I find that it is easy for ungratefulness and self-pity to work their way into our minds and having psalms of thanksgiving tucked away in our memories is a good way to battle it!
Speaking of kids, these Bible stories about gratitude are a great place to start. I have gratitude activities for kids that you might like to check out! We will be working through them next month also.
Bible Stories about Gratitude
What scripture comes to your mind when you think of Bible stories about gratitude? What are your favorite Bible verses about thanksgiving?
Are you guys ready to embrace gratitude with me?
Need a Gratitude Boost?
Check out this amazing Joyful Living Tool Box by One Exceptional Life! Perfect for encouraging gratitude in all areas of your life.
The Joyful Living Toolbox is for women who are struggling with fulfillment and happiness in their life, who are looking for the reminders that through faith, gratitude and kindness, you can overcome anything.
This isn’t your ordinary gratitude journaling kit. After years of trying to overcome every challenge all by myself, what I have found is that there are 3 key elements to focus on every day that will help you get back to feeling like yourself in no time at all.
- Faith and Prayer
- Kindness to others
Which is why the Joyful Living Toolbox is geared toward making that easier, saving you time by putting all the tools that you need in one handy place, at your fingertips.
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