Begin Your Day With Thanksgiving
I’m not a morning person: I struggle to sit up, let alone stand up—and to think, let alone thank. My wife is similar. She jokes that she was known in college (due to long days and nights studying) to grumble back at “Good morning!” with, “Good morning for you, not for me!”
I too often roll out of bed, crawl to the kitchen after first confirming the couch is still comfortable, and make my coffee—usually not yet having made my bed or my hair. I remember to say thanks before breakfast. I talk to God as soon as I wake, and often say thanks at some point early on; but not always first thing. And not necessarily whole-heartedly at first.
But 1 Chronicles 23:30 teaches that I as a pastor especially should, ... stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even. King David, preparing for Solomon’s reign, reminded the Levites that the job of ministers is to serve the Lord every morning on behalf of God’s people with thankful praise. (See also chapter 16, verses 4 and 7-8.) So in 2 Chronicles 31:2, King Hezekiah appointed the service of the priests and Levites ... to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD. What an amazing job description of one of the minister’s main duties: the official, daily giving of thanks to God.
The Hebrew for “thanks” could be “praise”; it is based on the word for “hand”, and can mean throw, shoot, or cast: you need to stand up to do that. How about we begin with morning stretches? Reach up high and extend those hands, arms, legs, back, and toes, saying “Ahhhhhh!” And “Thaaaaaank yooouuuuu Lord!” Get your blood flowing and gratitude going. Both feel so good.
We are all priests (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5); and now, God’s temple. May praise and thanksgiving to God be found within you at all times, especially each morning. Colossians 4:2 instructs us to, Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; How is it that you can give thanks each morning? His mercies are new there (Lamentations 2:22-23). His joy comes anew there (Psalm 30:5). And you find Him and you there. Whatever had you up late and anxious as you faced the next day, remember you may not have woken up at all to worry about anything—or even get out of bed. Psalm 92:1-2 teaches that, It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
Notice giving thanks in the evening is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:30 too. But you are likely to end your days as you begin them. So “every morning” is stressed by the literal Hebrew, “in morning in morning”.
My wife and I recently put up an artistic placard over our bedroom archway that reads, “Start each day with a grateful heart.” We need the reminder, and it changes how our days go.
In his speech about ten lessons from his Navy Seal training to change the world, Admiral William H. McRaven emphasized the first way as paramount:
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right ... If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
How much more will Christians change the world by beginning our days with an attitude of gratitude expressed by standing up and saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!” For isn’t He the One who watched over you as you slept? Or stayed with you while you didn’t? And isn’t it He Who is there giving you breath to begin your next day living with and for Him. And to live it well?
How can you live it well? Begin Your Days with Thanksgiving.
Grant Van Leuven has been feeding the flock at the Puritan Evangelical Church of America in San Diego, CA, since 2010. He and his wife, Fernanda, have five covenant children: Rachel, Olivia, Abraham, Isaac, and Gabriel. He earned his M.Div. at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA
 To watch this speech, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaQZFhrW0fU
 This article is based on a sermon by the same name. See: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=112419231633199