Sermon quotes on gratitude

Ambrose of Milan

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.

Maya Angelou 

This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.

Maya Angelou

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.

 Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

Thomas Aquinas 

O God, grant that whatever good things I have, I may share generously with those who have not, and whatever good things I do not have, I may request humbly from those who do. 

Kay Arthur 

God is in control, and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks – not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.

Augustine of Hippo 

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering… Now, let us acknowledge the wonder of our physical incarnation— that we are here, in these particular bodies, at this particular time, in these particular circumstances. May we never take for granted the gift of our individuality.

Karl Barth 

Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

Henry Ward Beecher 

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.

Letters and Papers from Prison, Simon and Schuster, 2011, p.79, 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

Brene Brown

What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.

G.K. Chesterton

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

A Short History of England, John Lane Company.

G.K. Chesterton 

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.


He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.


Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Richard J. Foster

Our God is not made of stone. His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God. God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude.

George Herbert 

Thou who has given so much to me, give one thing more: a grateful heart.

Jack Hyles 

It is easy to be grateful for a bonus; it is character to be grateful for a salary.

Alphonse Karr

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.

A Tour Round My Garden

William Law 

To be always in a thankful state of heart before God is not to be considered a high plane of spirituality but rather the normal attitude of one who believes that “all things work together for good to them that love God, who are called according to his purpose.

C.S. Lewis

Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.

The Screwtape Letters

Jean Baptiste Massieu 

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

Thomas Merton 

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. 

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

Meister Eckhart

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.

A.A. Milne 

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

Hannah More 

There are three requisites to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings: a thankful reflection, on the goodness of the giver; a deep sense of our own unworthiness; and a recollection of the uncertainty of our long possessing them. The first will make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate.

Willie Nelson

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.

Marcel Proust 

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Michael Ramsey

Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.

Albert Schweitzer

At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

John E. Southard

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.

John Stott

It is not by accident that in Greek one and the same noun (charis) does duty for both ‘grace’ and ‘gratitude.’

Romans: God’s Good News for the World, InterVarsity Press.

A.W. Tozer 

Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.

Alfred North Whitehead 

No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.

Phillip Yancey

If we comprehend what Christ has done for us, then surely out of gratitude we will strive to live ‘worthy’ of such great love. We will strive for holiness not to make God love us but because He already does.

Zig Ziglar 

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

Brennan Manning

The ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others.

The Ragamuffin Gospel

Mark Buchanan

The heart of wickedness and godlessness is that: a refusal to glorify God. It’s the refusal to thank Him.

The Holy Wild (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2005), 105.

Robert Louis Stevenson

The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.

“New Letters of R. L. Stevenson,” in Harper’s Monthly Magazine, vol. 104, eds. Henry Mills Alden, Thomas Bucklin Wells, and Lee Foster Hartman (New York: Harper, 1902), 126.

French Proverb

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In normal life one is not at all aware that we always receive infinitely more than we give, and that gratitude is what enriches life. One easily overestimates the importance of one’s own acts and deeds, compared with what we become only through other people.

Letters and Papers from Prison: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works—Reader’s Edition (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015), p. 129.

Henri Nouwen

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.

“The Spiritual Work of Gratitude,” Henri Nouwen Society, January 12, 2017.

Larry Dvoskin

As we travel with gratitude, and share that feeling—like a ripple it spreads across the world.

David Steindl-Rast

If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.

Diana Butler Bass

Gratitude is a habit of awareness that reshapes our self-understanding and the moral choices we make in the world. In short, gratitude is an ethic, a coherent set of principles and practices related to grace, gifts, and giving that can guide our lives.

Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks, 2018, p. 60, HarperOne.

Melodie Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. . . . It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Karl Barth

Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning.

Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of Reconciliation (London: Clark, 2004), pp. 41–42.

Robert Emmons

Gratitude drives out toxic emotions of resentment, anger, and envy, and may be associated with better long-term emotional and physical health in transplant recipients.

Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007), p. 66.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.

Robert A. Emmons

Gratitude is important not only because it helps us feel good but also because it inspires us to do good. Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in myriad ways consistent with the notion that virtue is its own reward and produces other rewards.

Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, Jossey-Bass, 2013, p.vii.

G.K. Chesterton

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

G.K. Chesterton

The modern world has had far too little understanding of the art of keeping young. Its notion of progress has been to pile one thing on top of another, without caring if each thing was crushed in turn. People forgot that the human soul can enjoy a thing most when there is time to think about it and be thankful for it.

Hungarian Proverb

Who doesn’t appreciate the small things, doesn’t deserve the big.

Otto Friedrich Bollnow

The virtue of gratitude . . . directly touches the ultimate foundations of human existence, for there is hardly another quality of man that is so suited to reveal the state of his inner spiritual and moral health as his capacity to be grateful.

Owen M. Griffith

Gratitude is an appreciation of desired elements that have occurred among the events and happenings of one’s life. Its counterpart, resentment, is the rejection of one’s life until certain desired elements appear. 

Gratitude: A Way of Teaching, 2016, p.90.

W.B. Yeats

No man has ever lived that had enough of children’s gratitude and women’s love.

1933, p. 12


He who receives a benefit with gratitude repays the first installment on his debt.

On Benefits, 2.22.1

William Shakespeare

I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying,vainness,babbling,drunkenness, Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption Inhabits our frail blood.

Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 4.

William Shakespeare

Blow, blow, thou winter wind!

Thou art not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude.

As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7.

La Rochefoucauld (For Contrast)

Gratitude in the generality of men is only a strong and secret desire of receiving greater favours.

Maxims, 298.

Samuel Pufendorf

Although an ungrateful heart is not an offence in itself, still a name for ingratitude is regarded as baser, more odious and more detestable than a name for injustice.

On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law, p.66.

David Hume

Of all the crimes that human creatures are capable of committing, the most horrid and unnatural is ingratitude, especially when it is committed against parents, and appears in the most flagrant instances of wounds and death.

A Treatise of Human Nature, p. 466.

Georg Simmel

Gratitude, as it were, is the moral memory of mankind.

1908/1996, p.45.

Robert Wright

No other animal plays non-zero sum games as tirelessly as we do. Much of your emotional life is natural selection’s way of getting you to play. Gratitude for favors rendered and guilt over neglecting a friend help you start or sustain potentially win-win games.

2000, p.59.

David Burrell 

I have come to realize that one lives either by gratitude or resentment; there is no middle ground!

Questing for Understanding, Cascade Books, 2012.

Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine

Gratitude magnifies the spirit and promotes well-being. In good times and bad, authentic appreciation creates perspective, literally stepping back from the distractions of the moment and affirming something more lasting than passing circumstance.

The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2014), 31–32.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.

George Herbert

Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;

Not thankful when it pleaseth me,

As if Thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.


Beauty R. Maenzanise

What does the Lord require of followers? The Lord requires gratitude. And for those of us in the Christian tradition, Jesus wants our gratitude to increase more and more until, like a holy flame, it burns within us and we burst into songs and deeds of thankfulness to God and neighbor. To express genuine gratitude to God, our deeds must demonstrate our love, trust, and service.

Steve Harper

Resentment indicates we are still trying to fill the emptiness with something we think we deserve. Gratitude is the sign that God has filled the hole; indeed, that God has become the Whole in Whom we live, move, and have our being.

Steve Garnaas Holmes

Those mornings when you wake up burdened,

already thinking Oh why bother,

start here:

thank God for one thing.

One person whom you love will do,

though even a remarkable coincidence is acceptable.

You don’t even need to go into peaches,

the color blue, or migratory birds,

or a child’s laugh you heard the other day,

let alone the angelic speech of nerve synapses

or the inscrutable ballet of spiral galaxies,

or God’s outlandish love for you.

Just one thing to give thanks for.

Then resolve to live the day

in adequate gratitude for that one thing,

and begin.

Start here” from his blog www.unfoldinglight.net

George Herbert

Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;

Not thankful when it pleaseth me,

As if Thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.


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