Date: November 27, 2022
Three Reasons for Giving Thanks
Give thanks for the ways God is at work in your life.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Thanksgiving is a distinctly American holiday. But did you know there is another day for giving thanks? September 21 is World Gratitude Day. The holiday, with the aim of reminding people of the importance of expressing gestures of thanks and appreciation, was first celebrated in 1966 and every September 21st since then. Both individuals and organizations around the globe celebrate World Gratitude Day. To mark this year’s World Gratitude Day, students at the University of Miami took time out to express gratitude for people who have “impacted their lives and taken their passion to another level.” Here are some of the people the students were grateful for:
- Julian Villeta, a third-year psychology major, is grateful for his fourth-grade teacher. “This may sound cheesy, but my fourth grade teacher Mr. Romero was the first person to believe in me,” Villeta said.
- Carolina Miranda, a fourth-year economics major, is thankful for an attorney who gave her a job. “I am thankful for Israel Reyes,” Miranda said. “He was the first attorney I ever worked for and made me want to be a lawyer.”
- Diana Montalvo, a fourth-year student studying political science and economics, is thankful for her brother. “Having autism, he’s shown me to live life to the fullest in the small and simplest things,” Montalvo said. “And if I really want something, to fight for it.”
Say: Naming the people and things we are grateful for helps us to focus on some of the really important things in our lives. Then call attention to Question #1 (What past event in your life are you now thankful for?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Study the Bible
Use the following information to introduce Question #3.
Leo and Annie are new Christians from an indigenous tribe in northeastern Brazil. This couple had worked as school teachers in their community. But when they became Christians, the chiefs and shamans who lead the community told them they could not follow Jesus and keep their jobs.
“They were angry and hateful toward us,” Annie said. “They were saying that we had become traitors and that we were abandoning our culture.” So Leo and Annie kept their new faith in Jesus, but they lost their jobs.
“On the one hand, we feel sad to be hated for our faith and to have lost our jobs, but on the other hand, we feel happy on the inside, knowing that we are standing firm in our faith in Jesus,” Annie said.
With no income to support their family, Leo has taken farming jobs, and members of their church are helping to care for them. The community leaders have also banned the International Mission Board missionaries from coming into the village.
“Leo and I decided to follow Jesus together, and we’re going to continue to follow Jesus together. I’m not going to turn my back on Jesus or on my husband.”
Say: Together as a couple, Leo and Annie are walking through adversity, with God’s help and the support of their church community. Then call attention to Question #3 (How has God led you through adversity?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Study the Bible [Option from the Young Adult Leader Guide, p. 155]
After discussing question #3, use one of these songs to create a time of worship for the group and provide an opportunity for them to share one aspect of God’s goodness or faithfulness that is especially significant to them.
- What kinds of circumstances cause you to feel grateful?
- What past event in your life are you now thankful for?
- What do you most look forward to at Thanksgiving?
- How has the Lord revealed His goodness to you?
- From what “enemies” or circumstances has God redeemed you?
- Where have you seen God’s goodness and love in your life?
- When has God led you through your adversities?
- How does God reveal the right path we should follow?
- What people or practices have helped you remain receptive to God’s leading?
- Why is prayer of thanksgiving a vital aspect of our worship of God?
- Which wondrous works of God inspire you to be thankful right now?
- How can our attitudes and actions help others recognize God as the giver of all good things?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.