As we approach November, many of us are turning our thoughts toward Thanksgiving 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.
Both Hannah and Mary express beautiful prayers of gratitude. There is also the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers.
Who Showed Gratitude in the Bible?
The first Bible story about thankfulness that comes to mind is the one of Jesus and the 10 lepers.
Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 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.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 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.
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.
2 “No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “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.
4 “The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.
6 “The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.
“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
9 He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.
“For by strength no man shall prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
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,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
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.
As a mom, I’m always looking for opportunities to teach gratitude to my kids! Subscribe to my encouraging weekly email and receive these cute journaling pages for free. Just click image 🙂
What does the Bible Say about Gratitude or Being Thankful?
Besides the Bible stories about thankfulness, what does the Bible say about being thankful? If you are looking for a thankful heart Bible verse, check these out.
The first verse that always comes to mind is 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 daily counteract those stresses with gratitude.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)
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 that memorization 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?
My plan is for “Bible Stories about Gratitude” to be the beginning of a series on thankfulness and gratitude to encourage us through the rest of October and November. I’m shooting for two gratitude posts a week. There are so many wonderful verses though so I might try for three.
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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