If you have ever talked with someone whose native language was not English, then I imagine you heard them say something like, “English is so hard!” or “English does not make sense!” And you might have shaken your head and simply agreed with them. English has so many rules and exceptions, not to mention idioms or the various accents from across the English speaking world! My favorite rule–the i before e except after c rule–is weird and not always true.
I recently saw a Thanksgiving sign that said, “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed”. It struck me as a weird sign, because essentially they are all the same thing. Or are they? What does it mean to be thankful, grateful or even blessed? So, like a good student, I went to the dictionary and looked them up. True to our wonderful English language, there are some differences.
“Grateful” requires an outside event or thing to spark the feeling of being grateful. Like when someone helps us move. We are grateful, because we might not have been able to move without them. Grateful reminds us of our own helplessness, the fact that we often need things outside of ourselves.
“Thankful” comes from something within us to spark that thankful feeling. We can be thankful without depending on others. Instead of a reminder of our helplessness, we are aware of or conscience of something we have, and that awareness makes us thankful.
“Blessed” has nothing to do with any feeling or possession I have. Blessed is something completely separate. Blessed is something MADE holy or consecrated. Someone of a higher authority needs to bestow a blessing, thereby setting it apart and making it special or unique.
I cannot earn my way to a relationship with God. Someone outside of me had to help me. The fact that Jesus died to save me so I could have a relationship with God makes my heart cry out with gratefulness!
When I consider that Christ lives within me, and no outside influence can steal that from me, I am very thankful!
When I realize that by the work of Jesus on the Cross, God makes me a new creature; holy and set apart. Then I realize I am truly blessed!
Grateful, Thankful, Blessed. Maybe it was not such a weird sign after all.