Through humility, gratitude, and remembrance, we can truly learn to give thanks.

When we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

In 2014, Kevin Durant, an American basketball player, was named the Most Valuable Player. When he received his award, he delivered a memorable acceptance speech. Durant thanked his teammates and friends – nothing extraordinary there – but then he spoke directly to his mother.

I don’t think you know what you did,” Durant told her from the podium. His eyes filled with tears. “The odds were stacked against us: a single parent with two boys at twenty-one. Everyone told us we weren’t supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment on our own.

Durant then acknowledged his mother’s contributions to his own success. He seized an incredible opportunity to thank her very publicly. Like Durant, you may want to give thanks for the people, circumstances, and things in your life. And even if you don’t have a podium to do so, expressing your gratitude can be just as powerful.

Intentional gratitude can make all the difference in how we perceive the world around us. Let’s take a look at three elements of implementing a lifestyle of thanksgiving.


As with many things, we must start from within. The first step is to cultivate an inner attitude of humility, centered on the awareness that we are no more important than others. Therefore, we do not naturally deserve more than anyone else. In fact, a humble person completely rejects the mentality of “I deserve this.”

Humility leaves no room for thoughts of entitlement or privilege. Adopting a humble mindset shifts our approach to life from demands and expectations to acceptance and contentment. This transition comes with a greater appreciation for life and a more natural inclination toward gratitude.

Christians believe that the Bible contains God’s foundational teachings on a variety of subjects, including thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:19-20 explains when and for what to give thanks: “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

People who begin to give thanks always and for everything start to see the world in a new way. Circumstances, people, and things once considered mundane are now special. Areas of life that once seemed inadequate are now revealed to be full of substance and meaning.

In his speech, Durant recalled a childhood incident that held particular significance for him. “One of my best memories is moving into our first apartment. No bed, no furniture, and we all just sat in the living room and hugged each other. We thought we’d made it.” While some might have considered this situation far from ideal, Durant viewed – and still views – it as deeply special.

Like Durant, humble individuals see the undeserved beauty of life. This mindset helps find good even in challenging situations. In fact, in the absence of entitlement, a difficulty can simply be accepted and dealt with as a reality. French novelist Alphonse Karr wrote: “Some people complain that roses have thorns. I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

For example, perhaps by developing this mindset, you’ll stop complaining about other cars in traffic and instead notice a pink sunset in the distance. A painful breakup may provide insights into how you can love more intentionally. A stressful work project serves as a reminder that others trust you to get the job done. Your home, your vehicle, and your meals, whether refined or simple, new or old, are all now considered and respected as precious gifts.

In every circumstance, humble people ask, “What can I be grateful for?


This attitude of humility naturally leads to a spirit of gratitude. People who become aware of the kindness and goodness around them often begin to ask: how can I repay these undeserved gifts?

The Bible also gives instructions on repaying undeserved favor: “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High. 4 A thank offering honors me, and I will show God’s salvation to the one who honors me.

For example, Christians believe that Jesus willingly sacrificed his life to be able to have a personal relationship with God. In response to his extraordinary gift, Christians express thanks to Jesus directly and indirectly. They sacrifice their time to know and worship him in church and in Bible studies. They sacrifice money to spread his message of hope to others. They even sacrifice certain behaviors to live in righteousness as Jesus commanded.

Likewise, there are many ways to acknowledge and reward the sacrifices others have made for you. A positive testimonial, for instance, is a powerful way to acknowledge excellent service from a person or organization. Speaking positively about a local business to friends or posting a recommendation online helps build its good reputation.

Another way to give thanks is to honor a person’s legacy through a commemoration or memorial. A new mother might give her child the name of a grandmother who deeply impacted her life. Showing honor can also take the form of intentional belief in someone. For example, an impressed employer might entrust a more authoritative position to an employee.

Another form of gratitude is consideration toward another person through prayer. A grateful citizen for their country may pray for the integrity and guidance of its leaders. Our gratitude toward friends and family may compel us to pray for their well-being and happiness.

Perhaps most importantly of all, grace is a form of gratitude that offers love and forgiveness to others. A Christian who believes that Jesus loves them despite their sins is willing to love others despite theirs. They may greet an irritable coworker, a gruff stranger, or even an ex-spouse with a warm and “undeserved” smile.


The final element of thanksgiving is remembrance. Remembering what has been done for you is essential for living a life of gratitude.

The details of everyday life can easily clutter our minds and hearts. Kindness can be quickly forgotten amidst minor disagreements, daily stressors, and selfish desires. Over time, a relationship, workplace, or community can grow cold and foster feelings of underappreciation and dissatisfaction.

Gratitude is sustained through deliberate remembrance. Grateful individuals systematically choose to recall good memories, dwell on them, and cherish them, even if it doesn’t come naturally. They follow very wise advice from the apostle Paul: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Focusing on remembering past kindnesses creates a legacy that can withstand years of ups and downs. Spouses can preserve their intimacy with each other; friends can preserve their appreciation for one another. And years later, a boy can become a man who preserved what his mother did well.

This text is an excerpt from the book “The Blessings of Thanksgiving” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “THE LAW OF GIVING.

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