Sermon quotes on thanksgiving

Ambrose of Milan

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.

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.

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. 

Albert Barnes

We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning.

Henry Ward Beecher

Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.

Henry Ward Beecher

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.

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.

Erma Bombeck

Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not a coincidence.

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.

C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison

If the essence of God is to give, the essence of humanity is thankfulness.

Slow Church, InterVarsity Press, 2014.

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 (New York: John Lane Company, 1917)

G.K. Chesterton 

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

Chuck Colson

Edwards [Jonathan Edwards] calls the deeper, primary form of thankfulness ‘gracious gratitude.’ It gives thanks not for goods received, but for who God is: for His character — His goodness, love, power, excellencies — regardless of favors received. And it’s real evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life.


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

Tony Evans

God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.

Abraham Heschel

Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.

Between God and Man

Timothy Keller

It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.

Thomas à Kempis

Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as especial favors. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God.

The Imitation of Christ

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

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.

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.

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.

J.I. Packer

We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.

Christine Pohl

In Scripture, remembering falsely or forgetting entirely is often associated with an absence of gratitude. One of the saddest judgments passed on people in Scripture is that they didn’t remember God’s steadfast love.

Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us, Eerdmans, 2011, p.23.

Christine Pohl

[The ancient Israelites cultivated gratitude in their life and worship by] speaking of God’s deeds among the people, and remembering and telling of God’s blessing, wonderful works and faithfulness.

Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us, Eerdmans, 2011, p.23.

Christine Pohl

Gratitude and wonder are squeezed out when our lives are packed full with busyness and responsibilities…There is simply no room, no time to notice. We experience God’s gifts when we pause long enough to notice them.

Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us, Eerdmans, 2011, pp.29-30.

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.

Alexander Schmemann

Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man.

Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the

only full and real response of man to God’s creation,

redemption, and gift of heaven.

Albert Schweitzer

The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live…. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.

Reverence for Life, trans. Reginald H. Fuller, Harper, 1969, 41.

Priscilla Shirer

When we choose thankful prayer over wallowing in anxiety and worry, we are demonstrating an unwavering trust in God.

C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison

More than three-quarters of the uses of eucharisteo (thanksgiving) and charis (grace) in the New Testament occur in Paul’s writings. And, according to some scholars, Paul mentions thanksgiving more frequently per page than any other Hellenistic writer of his time.

Slow Church, InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Charles Spurgeon

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.

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.

Lysa Terkeurst

If there was ever a secret for unleashing God’s powerful peace in a situation, it’s developing a heart of true thanksgiving.

Alice Walker

“Thank you” is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.

Rick Warren

In happy moments, PRAISE GOD. In difficult moments, SEEK GOD. In quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. In painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.

Thornton Wilder

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Be thankful. God has commanded it—for our good and for His glory. God’s command to be thankful is not the threatening demand of a tyrant. Rather, it is the invitation of a lifetime—the opportunity to draw near to Him at any moment of the day.

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.


Peter Leithart

As in ancient Israel, thanksgiving had a liturgical form in the communities of early Christians. In talking about tongues, Paul says that one who does not know the tongue cannot join in the “Amen” at the eucharistia, since one cannot understand what has been said. More important, the central rite of Christian worship involved a Eucharist, a thanksgiving prayer.

Gratitude: An Intellectual History, Baylor University Press, 2014.

Peter Leithart

Thanksgiving is thus the liturgy of Christian living. It is the continuous sacrifice that Christians offer. Gratitude to God is the continuous sanctification of the world.

Gratitude: An Intellectual History, Baylor University Press, 2014.

Peter Leithart

From its earliest emergence and throughout the Middle Ages, the Christian church’s central religious rite was the Eucharist, a thanksgiving offering and meal, which became known as the Mass (from the dismissal at the end of the Latin mass, ite missa est ).

Gratitude: An Intellectual History, Baylor University Press, 2014.

Peter Leithart

Gratitude is not based on a “scientific” conclusion that the world is well run, that resources and talents are equitably distributed. It is not a nice denken ist danken [to think is to thank] expectation that everything will turn out well in the end; it is not teleologically determined. Rather, gratitude is rooted in the adoption of a hermeneutical principle, a determination to read everything in the register of love.

Gratitude: An Intellectual History, Baylor University Press, 2014.

Alexander Schmemann 

Thanksgiving is the experience of paradise…paradise is the primordial state of man and all creation, our state before the fall…and our state upon our salvation by Christ…Paradise is, in other words, the beginning and the end, to which is oriented and through which is defined and determined the entire life of man and in him of all creation” 

The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom, St. Vladimir’s University Press, 2003.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Thanksgiving. 

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