In Lansing, Michigan, during the winter, we don’t get many sunny days. But last year God blessed us with one of those beautiful days, and it seemed that almost everyone was thanking God, except me. As I left my office, a man said, “What a wonderful day we’re having. This is a gift from God!” To which I replied, “Yes, but we’re getting snow later this week.” What ingratitude!

In his letters, the apostle Paul helped his readers to develop a theology of gratitude. He wrote about thanksgiving more often than any other New Testament author. From the 23 times he used the word, we learn a few lessons about thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was always directed toward God and never toward people. People were gifts from God, and Paul thanked God for their growth, love, and faith (1 Cor. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:2).

Thanksgiving is given through Jesus for everything (Col. 3:15,17). Paul believed followers of Jesus could be thankful for everything because God is sovereign, and He is working things out for the believers’ good (1 Thess. 5:18).

May we intentionally be aware of God’s gifts all around us, and respond with gratitude. In response to God’s gifts, it’s natural to say, “Thank You, Lord.”