I’m preaching the Thanksgiving Eve sermon at our church for the third year in a row. What a tremendous privilege. In order to prepare my heart to write this sermon, I read a Christian book on thankfulness. As I surveyed the potential books to purchase, I was delighted to see so many books on this subject by respectable authors and publishers. This is good, for ingratitude is no small sin.
Below are some of the books I stumbled upon as I searched a book on thankfulness for personal use. I haven’t read every title below but share these books with you for you to consider if it looks like the kind of book you want to read or not. I’m sharing the following volumes based on what I know about the author, publisher, or because I’ve heard good things about the book from a friend. In each case, I’ve posted the blurb about the book from Amazon.
Note: At the bottom of this post you’ll discover more books to consider reading along with a nice reading app I’ve been using lately.
5 Christian Books on Thankfulness and Gratitude
1. Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme by David W. Pao
“‘Be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15) is a recurring exhortation in the letters of the apostle Paul. No other New Testament writer gives such a sustained emphasis on thanksgiving―and yet, major modern studies of Paul fail to wrestle with it. David Pao aims to rehabilitate this theme in this comprehensive and accessible study, a New Studies in Biblical Theology volume. He shows how, for Paul, thanksgiving is grounded in the covenantal traditions of salvation history. To offer thanks to God is to live a life of worship and to anticipate the future acts of God, all in submission to the lordship of Christ. Ingratitude to God is idolatry. Thanksgiving functions as a link between theology, including eschatology, and ethics. Here Pao provides clear insights into the passion of an apostle who never fails to insist on the significance of both the gospel message and the response this message demands. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.”
2. Practicing Thankfulness: Cultivating a Grateful Heart in All Circumstances by Sam Crabtree
“What Christians believe about God is visible in how they exhibit thankfulness for all he has done on their behalf. Pastor Sam Crabtree offers a practical resource to encourage believers to express glad-hearted thankfulness for God’s unending provision. This book provides insight into daily practices that exemplify thankfulness, such as speaking a word of thanks to a neighbor, serving others in a practical way, or thanking God for his many gifts.
By living each day with gratitude in mind, Christians are doing more than saying a word of thanks or lending a helping hand – they are recognizing the absolute and total lordship of God, his sovereignty over all things, and his kindness in using his almighty power to work all things for good.”
“The apostle Paul instructed the Philippians to be anxious in nothing and thankful in everything. And when he said everything – he meant everything. We can all agree that this is easier said than done. Disappointments and discontent may cause you to slip into dissatisfaction, and grumbling becomes a state of mind – gratitude seems impossible to find. However, what if this is the precise reason you lack the joy of a God-filled life? Instead of a reaction to when things are going well, what if gratitude is actually necessary to knowing the hope of our gracious God?
This is exactly what Pastor Dustin Crowe identifies in The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks. Dustin examines the biblical foundations of thankfulness and traces how it can reshape every-day Christian living. When we express gratitude in all things, we not only praise our Creator, we also get to know Him better. With The Grumbler’s Guide, you’ll learn how to practice thanksgiving in both simple and extraordinary ways, even when you’re tempted to dwell on the negative. You’ll find your outlook on life realigned to see the hand of God in everything, strengthening your trust in Him. And in doing so, you’ll find greater, more joy-filled reasons to continue expressing thanks to our good and generous God.”
4. Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
“Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude. And once allowed into the heart, ingratitude does not come by itself, but with other seedy companions that only succeed in stealing joy.
Derived from a popular Revive Our Hearts radio series, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy challenges and equips the reader to live a life of intention, a life based on thankfulness for the freedom Christ has provided and for the blessings of others.
By intentionally thanking God and others, bitterness and entitlement are replaced with joy and the humble realization of just how undeserving we really are.
To not choose gratitude is more costly than we usually realize. When we do choose a lifestyle of heartfelt, humble gratitude, we are mindful of the benefits received from our gracious Savior and those He has placed around us, and our joy becomes full.”
5. Growing in Gratitude: Rediscovering the Joy of a Thankful Heart by Mary K. Mohler
“How to grow as thankful women of God.
How to grow as thankful women of God.
We are often encouraged to ‘count our blessings’. But truly biblical gratitude is much more than this.
Mary K. Mohler unpacks Scripture to help us grow in gracious gratitude—thanking God for who he is, as well as natural gratitude— thanking him for his blessings. She also helps women to identify and deal with some of the things that hinder them so that they can rediscover the joy of a thankful heart.
This thoroughly Bible-centered unpacking of the reasons for gratitude builds on Mary K. Mohler’s 25 years experience in mentoring seminary wives at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this book ideal for group use as well as for individuals.”
Readwise: A Reading App
Readwise is a cool new reading app I’ve been using lately. Here’s part of how it works: as you underline (for physical books), or highlight (for digital reading), Readwise captures everything you underline or highlight. Then, every day (you can adjust the settings later), Readwise will send you a random selection of 5-15 highlights or sentences you’ve underlined. This helps a ton with retention. I’ve really enjoyed using it so far and I encourage you to check it out.
I suspect one of the best ways I can be useful as a blogger is to get good books into the hands of readers. You might spend two minutes on my site, but if I get a good book in your hands, you will spend hours with that author. That’s one of my biggest aims as a Christian content producer: to get good books into the hands of eager readers. With that in mind, here are some other book lists you may enjoy:
1. 7 C.S. Lewis Books I Supremely Admire (From a C.S. Lewis Scholar). This is a guest post written by Michael Ward, who was named as the foremost living C.S. Lewis Scholar by N.T. Wright. In this article, Ward points you to seven C.S. Lewis books he admires.
2. 30 Books Every Christian Should Read Before Turning 30. Here is a list of books I put together to consider reading before turning 30.
3. The 20 Best Books I Read in Seminary. I read a lot of books in seminary. Here are the 20 best ones.