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FOCUS OF THE MONTH: TRUE MEANING OF GRATITUDE
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Gratitude is a positive identifying virtue for any follower of Jesus Christ. However, it is sometimes difficult to know how to demonstrate grateful feelings practically, especially for gifts that can never be fully repaid (such as salvation). How, then, can we teach our children what gratitude means in a practical way?
For week one, ask the first question over an unhurried meal. Let the children think about it and then offer their own answers. The children should talk more than the parents. Throughout the week, offer the different reasons highlighted and let the children discuss them. (Parents, read through the relevant Bible passages in advance.) Challenge the children to look up other verses addressing the question. Do the same for the following questions each week for the month.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY GROW
What does it mean to be grateful?
Read: Numbers 12:3, Psalm 18:49, Luke 17:15-18, Philippians 4:6
- Gratitude is recognizing that we have not done everything for ourselves, but that we depend on others (especially God), and need to appreciate them for what they do for us.
- Being grateful is, in its simplest form, saying “thank you”: acknowledging that we recognize that something kind has been done for us which we did nothing to earn.
- Gratitude is the opposite of selfishness: being grateful requires one to realize that he or she is not the only important person in the world.
- Being grateful for the kind things done for us leads us to do kind things for others in turn.
What is God’s Kingdom like?
Read: Matthew 13:44-46, Luke 17:20-21, Romans 14:17, Revelation 19:1-22:21
- By saying “Thank you.” Whether we speak it out loud or write it in a note, those simple words can be a great blessing to someone who has blessed us.
- By honoring God and our parents, who have sacrificed for us and have given us everything we have. If we are truly grateful to them, we will want to please them and to put them before ourselves, as they have done for us.
- By helping others as we have been helped. Loving our neighbor is a wonderful way to show gratitude to God for His blessings to us.
How does giving to others connect with being grateful to God?
Read: Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 10:25-37 and 14:12-14
- We can’t show God how grateful we are to Him by giving Him things in return, because He doesn’t need anything, so we must show it in some other way.
- God loves and cares for everyone, and He wants all of us to care for each other in the same way that He cares for us. Therefore, He has set up the world so that we can take care of each other, even as He takes care of us.
- When we give to someone who can’t give back to us, we show that we are grateful for all the things God has given us without expecting anything in return, following the example of Christ.
- Giving to others often gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel and to tell others about the wonderful God we are serving through helping them.
How do we find opportunities to show gratitude through giving?
Read: Mark 14:7, Acts 4:32-37, 1 Timothy 2:1-4
- There are always people around who can use our help; the start of showing gratitude in this way is by addressing those needs instead of focusing on our own.
- Sharing is a good form of showing our thankfulness for our. gifts: when we get something for which we are grateful, we can share its benefits with others in some way.
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Switching our attitude to think more about what we can give to others rather than about what we can get out of life is a great foundation for grateful giving.
- Think about all the things you are grateful to have. Many of them will be things that a lot of people in the world don’t have, so you can show your gratitude by giving to ministries that try to supply those needs, such as food and water and hospital care, just for a start.
- Sharing the Gospel is the greatest gift we can give to others in gratitude for the greatest gift that God gave to us, His Son.