Thanksgiving Quotes

The What, Who, and When of Thankfulness
Various Scriptures

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Thanksgiving Quotes - The What, Who, and When of Thankfulness has the same format as our lesson planning sheet.

In preparing your lesson, we suggest that you:

1. Print the lesson planning sheet.
2. Read the Bible passage.
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Thanksgiving Quotes

Bible Passages: Psalms 136; Psalms 105:1; I Thessalonians 5:18.

The human need this passage meets is: to encourage thankfulness.

Learning Goals: By the end of this session, each learner should be able to. . .

(Know) Know how being thankful glorifies God.

(Feel) Feel more thankful toward God.

(Do) Be thankful in all circumstances.


Thanksgiving in the United States is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

In the United States, Thanksgiving originated in 1621 at Plymouth Rock. The Thanksgiving feast was in response to a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623.

Share with the people around you your best memory of "being thankful".

After a few minutes, ask some of the people to share their answers.


Cultivating a thankful heart begins with knowing the source of all our blessings. Acknowledging the Lord is the first step to being thankful.

Bible Input and Life Application

1. The What of Thankfulness

What should we be thankful for? For God's goodness, his unfailing love and his continual blessings toward all people.

A Thanksgiving quote from the Bible: Read Psalms 136:1-3.

One of the Thanksgiving quotes I want to draw your attention to is by George Washington. He stated:

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be

– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks

– for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation

– for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war

– for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed

– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions

– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually

– to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed

– to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord

– To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us

– and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


Another one of the famous Thanksgiving quotes is by Abraham Lincoln. He also remembered that God was the source of all our blessings.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. . .

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.


When I began my insurance practice I shared a small office with a person who greeted me each morning with the words, "Paul, I don't know what's wrong, but I'm in a really bad mood today." He said these words every morning. He constantly complained about everything. Needless to say, he didn't last in the business.

We would all be in a bad mood without focusing on what God has done.

Look through Psalms 136 and list what God did for these people.

  • He created the world. v. 5-9
  • He rescued them from Egypt. v.10-15
  • He gave them an inheritance. v. 16-22

    What wonderful deeds towards you has God done recently?

    Let's thank God with an antiphonal chant - like Psalms 136. One person or group of people will state something that God has done for them, then the rest of the group will say, "His love endures forever." Continue for several statements emphasizing God's great works.

    For example: He gave me a new job.
    His love endures forever.
    He forgave me of my sins.
    His love endures forever.

    2. The Who of Thankfulness

    One more of the thanksgiving quotes - Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. -- William Arthur Ward

    A Thanksgiving Quote from the Bible - Read Psalms 105:1.

    Who should see our thankfulness? The nations (people) around us.

    We are commanded to tell the people around us what God has done for us. God doesn't want just silent thanksgiving. The Israelites were blessed to be a blessing to the many nations around them. The same is true of followers of Jesus today. As we express to the people around us our thankfulness to God, they learn who God is.

    Think about the story of the woman in Luke 7:36-49. This woman showed her thankfulness to Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on his feet, wetting his feet with her tears, wiping his feet with her hair, and kissing his feet. Her demonstration was so public, that the people watching were shocked and uncomfortable. Jesus explained her actions by saying that people who have been forgiven much, love much. She publically proclaimed her love and thanks to Jesus. In the same way, how could you proclaim your thankfulness to the people around you?

    3. The When of Thankfulness

    When should we be thankful? In all circumstances.

    A Thanksgiving Quote from the Bible - Read I Thessalonians 5:18.

    God's will is that we trust his sovereignty. We are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances - not for the circumstance, but in the circumstance.

    Consider another one of the Thanksgiving Quotes -

    The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. - H.U. Westermayer

    We have visited various impoverished areas of the world. While they had little in material goods, the believers in Jesus have a thankful and contented spirit. I have also seen people in their last days on earth, obviously in a less-than-desireable situation, yet with a thankful heart and a sweet contentedness. It is a fresh reminder that believers should put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything. I Timothy 6:17

    One of the Thanksgiving quotes from 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.

    Notice that he says - not thankful when it pleaseth me as if Thy blessings had spare days. God's blessings are abundant daily - second by second.

    The last of the Thanksgiving quotes -

    The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition

    Discussion Questions:

    1. How do you cultivate a heart that remembers and notices God's blessings?

    2. What is hard about sharing your thankfulness to God to the people who don't yet know him?

    3. How have you learned to be thankful - even when your circumstances aren't pleasant?

    4. Which of the Thanksgiving Quotes was your favorite?

    Author:Paul Schlieker

    For any reuse or distribution of this Thankfulness Quotes - the What, Who, and When of Thankfulness Sunday School lesson or any of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

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