Overflowing with Gratitude

Let’s meditate for a few moments on this beautiful phrase, overflowing with gratitude. What does it mean to overflow?

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A few years ago, I started teaching the subjects of language and writing to GED students.  Every Wednesday, we would do an exercise together as a class to practice writing a five-paragraph essay. As the end of November approached, I chose the topic of Thanksgiving.  I thought that in this age of entitlement it might be a double “win” for the students to count their blessings and practice their writing.

So to prepare for my lesson, I sent out an email to friends and colleagues for quotes about being thankful.  I received some great ones!

Some were fun:

“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” – Erma Bombeck

“May your stuffing be tasty, May your turkey be plump, May your potatoes and gravy, Have nary a lump, May your yams be delicious, And may your pies take the prize, And may your Thanksgiving dinner, Stay off your thighs!” – Anonymous

Others, really profound:

“Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of the vices.” – Thomas Fuller

“The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts….nevertheless, they set aside a day of thanksgiving. – H.W. Westermayer

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the others.” – Cicero

And my favorite:

“It’s not the happy person who is thankful but the thankful person who is happy.” – Anonymous

But as always, God’s Word takes the prize for the most profoundly sublime quote on being thankful.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:6-7 NASB, emphasis added).

Let’s meditate for a few moments on this beautiful phrase, overflowing with gratitude:

What does it mean to overflow?

A reservoir holds water.  When it rains too much or the snows in the mountains melt, the water flows over the edge.  When my husband John was a child, he lived near the Roosevelt Dam.  When the dam spilled over, it was quite an event…a wonder to behold!

And that’s what this word in the original language means:  “to be in excess, to have more than enough, to super-abound…to overflow!”

What is gratitude?

This word means appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise to God…and to others who have enriched our lives. After all, …what do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians, 4:7).

The original word in Greek is “eucharistia.” In Christian liturgical traditions,

“Eucharist is used in modern language for Holy Communion, embodying the highest act of thanksgiving for the greatest gift from God, the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is the grateful acknowledgement of past mercies.” – Spiro Zodiates

In fact, Jesus Himself gave thanks to the Father as He broke the bread and blessed the cup at the Last Supper with His disciples.  He acknowledged His Father as the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17).

So let us also, dear brothers and sisters, be a people overflowing with gratitude...always…not just this week!

Gratitude Exercises:

  1. What 5 things can you thank God for right now? In your journal, list them. Then chose one of the 5 and list 5 more. Keep going if you’d like.
  2. Have a time of family or personal communion, thanking the Father for the gift of His precious Son.
  3. Do this Bible study exercise:  Read through the book of Colossians and find at least one verse in each chapter about giving thanks. Be sure to read the context to get the complete message.


Featured Image By Annie Spratt

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About the Author

Jan Loyd is a child of God, a disciple of Christ, a Jersey girl, a former nun, a teacher, and now a wife of 48 years, mother of two, grandmother of 5 boys and finally a baby girl...these are just some of the hats she wears or has worn. Her hat as teacher has seemed to be one she’s worn her entire adult life, ranging from teaching elementary school, homeschool, adult ESOL and GED language and writing. But along with all of these opportunities has been her favorite above all the rest: teaching women the Word of God in various ways, Precept Upon Precept and Bible Studies she’s developed by the grace and tutelage of God along the way. The heart of the message that she delights to share is that we are in union with the Living God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Currently you may find her on her devotional blog “A Branch in the Vine” where she shares several times a week and in her Bible Study/ devotional book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension.