Gratitude: A Matter of Obedience to the Will of God

Sunday Scripture

According to the Apostle Paul, gratitude is more than a pumpkin-spice-feeling. It is a matter of obedience to the will of God.

Author and poet Wendell Berry put words into the mouth of a fictional, elderly widow named Hannah Coulter who, in addition to being a crackerjack farmhand when needed and probably making a great pie crust, also had a clear handle on her biblical theology:

“You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t want to be somebody else. What you must do is this:
‘Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks.’
I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.” (Hannah Coulter, page 113)

In this season of gratitude and pumpkin lattes, I will be focusing on those “right instructions,” knowing full well that I, too, am “not all the way capable of so much.” And yet this business of obedience to the Spirit of God is not to be confused with Operation Bootstrap. It is, rather, an operation by which, “the very God of peace will sanctify me wholly” through purposeful rejoicing in what is given and a prayer life that images the inhale and exhale of breathing.

Rolling into the month of November, whether your greatest challenge is deciding between pumpkin and apple pie** on the day of the feast–or whether God is choosing this season to grow you through adversity, let’s return to the words of Paul in the way we turn to our recipe for fool-proof gravy, knowing that even though we are not “all the way capable,” the instructions are good, for they are absolutely true, and they are given to us with love:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Giving thanks,

Michele Morin

**P.S.  My advice:  Go for a small slice of each.

According to the Apostle Paul, gratitude is more than a pumpkin-spice-feeling. It is a matter of obedience to the will of God.

Announcing…

The Build-Your-Library Book Give Away!

If you’ve been meaning to enrich your reading life with more books written by Christian women, this is your opportunity to win twelve books written by women of faith (and fellow members of the Redbud Writers Guild). Covering a wide range of topics and genres, the give away includes:
The God Dare by Kate Battistelli
The View from Goose Ridge by Cheryl Bostrom
*Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Greco
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Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales
*First Ask Why by Shelly Wildman
Beyond Awkward Side Hugs by Bronwyn Lea
*A Prayer for Orion by Katherine James
Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller
Always There by Anne Peterson
*Soul Strong by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
No More Fear by JoHannah Reardon

The asterisk means it’s a book I’ve reviewed here at Living Our Days, and you can click on the title to learn more.

To enter the drawing, head over to your favorite social media (InstagramFacebook, or Twitter) and follow me there. Then, leave a comment here saying where you clicked “follow” and which of the twelve books you’d probably read first. You have until Wednesday to enter, and the winner will be notified on Thursday, November 12.

What I’m Reading Now

Just Finished

What’s Next?


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase Hannah Coulter, simply click on the title within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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53 thoughts on “Gratitude: A Matter of Obedience to the Will of God”

  1. Admittedly, I have been a person of the grass is greener, but it is not. We have to walk in His life he has chosen as the best one for oneself. I often read don’t look back, but forward, but as one in their mid 70’s, I can say that looking back I sometimes realize that the life God has given has truly been a blessing, and a plus are the children he blessed us with. I mean that I always knew this, but clarity is there as more is revealed. Sometimes youth truly is wasted on the young..lol, but how fun the youth is with all their innocence. Happy Sunday

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  2. We are on the same page in our posts today. Your words encouraged me to keep on keeping on in what I know is right and true.

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  3. Good morning! I am thinking that the words from 1 Thess.5:16-18 should be my anthem right now. I know I should have the words on repeat throughout the day.

    What a treat to see my beautiful book in your line up. Thank you for your “yes” in being part of my launch team. Sharing the message makes such a difference.

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  4. I have not read Wendell Berry for quite a while. Now I must find one of his books and give it another look. The verse from 1 Thessalonians has always been one of my favorites. It seems so joyful in its call for us to give thanks.

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  5. Michele,
    I always come away from your blog encouraged by the beautiful way in which you share truth. Today is no different. I am so grateful to have begun my week here, and along with Hannah Coulter’s words, I take with me, “It is, rather, an operation by which, “the very God of peace will sanctify me wholly” through purposeful rejoicing in what is given and a prayer life that images the inhale and exhale of breathing.”” Thank you for sharing your gift with us and for your faithfulness.

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  6. Thank you for the reminder to keep rejoicing and to keep giving thanks. With so much happening in the world (and so many things we could be upset about), this is a good reminder of how many things are going right and to choose gratitude. Thank you again for this!

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  7. Praising God during the difficult times can be a challenge, but when we do so, we are drawn closer to Him and receive the sustaining energy we need to keep moving forward. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts on gratitude. ❤

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  8. Oddly enough, I’d rather eat pecan pie–even better if it has chocolate chips inside! I’m with Hannah. I try to make those right instructions a habit, but it builds slowly. But it DOES build with intention.

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  9. I need to read Hannah Coulter. I’ve only read Jayber Crow from Berry, and Jayber’s theology wasn’t always on point. 🙂 I love and agree with that point that “I am not all the way capable of so much.” We’ll never have Scriptural practice perfect in this life, but we know His instruction is good and we can take steps and grow.

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    1. Yes, the blueprint is there for us to follow and as long as we keep our eyes on it (realizing all the time that we don’t quite measure up), we’re bound to make progress! (I keep telling myself that practice makes progress–not necessarily Perfect.)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Michele, What a generous giveaway! Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter! I just clicked over to follow you on Twitter. I think the book I would want to read first would be “Mythical Me,” but all of them look like wonderful books. May the Lord bless you for your generosity, and I am excited to see that our book review will be coming soon! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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  11. Gratitude is truly a way of life that we must choose, Michele. I wonder if you’ve read any of Merlin Carothers’ books – Prison to Praise, Praise Works, etc. I think that ‘praise’ and ‘gratitude’ are interchangeable.

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  12. As soon as I remember to rejoice, as prompted by your writing, I felt peace come over my heart. It is the balm for anxiety and worry. Thank you, Michelle, for pointing to God’s way that heals and calms.

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  13. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  14. Gratitude is for sure something that I still need to work on. Be thankful is all things is a pretty big order. I am just glad that we are not called to do this alone. We have been given the Holy Spirit. With His help, I can finde thanksgiving.

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  15. LOL! I just love your advice (though I don’t eat pumpkin pie) I do tend to have a little bit of most every dessert we serve on Thanksgiving. After all I have to make sure everything we prepared is good enough to serve! 😉 Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

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