Thankfulness as a Key to Spiritual Health and Healthy Churches

In this episode of the Holy Joys Podcast, Johnathan Arnold and Timothy Cooley Sr. discuss the central place of gratitude in the Christian life and in building healthy churches.

Quotes from Timothy Cooley Sr.:

  • In Romans 1, before the giant steps downward, verse 21 points out that “when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful,” and that alerted me to the possibility of unthankfulness being a first step away from God.
  • True thankfulness should be the key to spiritual health.
  • If I can help motivate my own thankfulness and other people’s thankfulness, it’s going to bring a lot of other spiritual values up.
  • Make it a practice to begin each prayer with systematic expressions of thanks. Make it a basic pattern of life—I always start out thanking.
  • When you are praying for someone else audibly, in their presence, a great way to start off is by giving thanks for them.
  • We don’t motivate people very much by scolding them. The inner kind of living growth that we’re after is hard to motivate by scolding.

The inner kind of living growth that we’re after is hard to motivate by scolding.

  • It’s easy for us to think we can motivate someone else more by challenging them, scolding them, urging them, and that expressing thanks or compliments is the stuff that they don’t need very much. But they do need it.
  • Thankfulness is always good for relationships—both with God and others.
  • Growing my relationship of love with God has to do with my thanking him and praising him—not that I have to motivate him to love me, but that my relationship grows through thankfulness.
  • Sincere thankfulness tends to demonstrate that we value one another, which is so key in growing a whole, healthy church.
  • As soon as I develop an attitude of suspicion towards somebody else, I will misinterpret all kinds of signals from them.
  • The way we can thank God for all things is that he promised to work good out of it for us somehow. We’re not thankful for an evil thing, but we’re thankful that God has committed to work something good out of it.
  • The Greek word for godliness has to do with regarding God in every part of life and knowing that all of life is under my Father’s eye. Nothing happens that separates me from thinking about God. Where is God in all this? Where is God in this tragedy? I can’t even explain it, but I know that’s he’s here. I know that he’s with me. And I know that he’s committed. This is not my imagining some cosmic teddy bear who makes me feel how I want to feel. This is what God revealed. This is what he says. This is the kind of God I am. Involving God in an underlying, constant awareness in everything we do—that’s my way of thinking about godliness, and that connects very closely to thankfulness.
  • There are people all around us who have not had the pleasure of someone saying “Thank you” in a sincere way that gives them the deep-down feeling that, “I can do this. I can do something. I do something that draws gratitude.”