When my niece was two and a half, my sister and brother-in-law took her to visit friends. When they arrived, the six-year-old daughter of those friends took my niece into another room to play with her while the adults talked together. After about twenty minutes, the six-year-old came into the room exasperated. She had been playing a game with my niece that required her to hand my niece dozens of game pieces. The little girl complained, “Every time I hand her a piece, she says ‘thank you’ and waits for me to say ‘you’re welcome.’ ” This had been the constant “dialogue” for twenty minutes, and the older girl had gotten frustrated with it.
Teaching our children to give thanks and to have a thankful spirit is an important part of Christian parenting. The reason is that our heavenly Father demands that His children overflow with thanksgiving. Thankfulness is central to being a follower of Jesus Christ. Ungratefulness, on the other hand, is a sin and the root of other sins.
God created man—then re-created His people—to worship Him. In the classic work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs writes, “Worship is not only doing what pleases God, but also being pleased with what God does.” Worship includes taking delight in and giving thanks for all that God brings into our lives—in all circumstances. The thankful heart is the worshipful heart. The thankless heart is incapable of worshiping God.