Thankful vs. Grateful

As we enter into the week of thanksgiving, we finally take the time to slow down and decide what is important in our lives. For most of us, food, shelter and family are at the top of that list. We might throw in friends or pets or maybe that new promotion but there are times that I wonder if we are really thankful for all of those things or are we just grateful for them. What’s the difference, you ask? I try to think of “thankful” as being more of an external emotion, while being grateful is more of an internal emotion. I am thankful that my husband has a job and I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with the things that he does. Thanks is easy to express, but gratitude… not so much.

Often we tell people thank you and what is their common response? “No problem,” as if you were implying in the first place that it was a problem. Humans are not made to live in isolation and it is inbred in us to want to help the other person. This is very inherent when you look at the altrusistic nature of toddlers… they love to help just for the sake of helping. Somewhere along the lines of time, we lose that desire to help our fellow man just for the sake of helping and we view our desire for help as being a burdon on someone else. Faith teaches us that we are supposed to always help each other because that is what Jesus wanted of his followers, but one has to ask, if we are doing all of the helping, WHO is being helped? There is no shame in asking for help, but the deadly sin of pride keeps many of us from asking for help. On His way to Golgotha, our Lord fell, not once, not twice but three times. When we ask for someone’s help, we are acting as Jesus TO them. There is no shame in asking for help, there is only sin in thinking that it is too much for you to ask for help.


So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”- Colossians 2:6-7

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