Big Idea: The secret of happiness comes from within, but is expressed with an open heart of thanksgiving, as well as forgiving and giving. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”. Proverbs 4:23 ESV.

Scripture: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  ESV

Introduction. The story of the rich young ruler reveals his heart. He was a good and likeable man, and Jesus loved him, but he was bound up by a closed heart, and as a result, missed out on a relationship with God and the freedom that generosity gives.

Why should I be generous in Thanksgiving?
An attitude of gratitude opens the doors of the heavens.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalms 100:4 ESV

God created us to be thankful. Ingratitude comes from our fallen nature.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Thanksgiving set Jonah free from bondage.
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”  And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.  Jonah 2:8-10 ESV

Jesus’ thankfulness came before a miracle provision
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19 NIV

Thankfulness, despite the storm, came before Paul’s freedom
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.   Acts 27:35 NASB

Thankfulness in the middle of emotional pain and rejection was the key to David’s faith.
But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high. I will praise the name of God with song. And magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.   Psalm 69:29-31 ESV

Thanksgiving is a key to living in peace
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 ESV

Gratitude is a ‘natural antidepressant’. The effects of gratitude, when practiced daily can be almost the same as medications. It produces a feeling of long-lasting happiness and contentment, the physiological basis of which lies at the neurotransmitter level.

When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.

By consciously practicing gratitude every day, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves.

Thankfulness is a testimony of God to our world
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV