I was unaware of the symbol for gratitude. Of course, Eastern culture exhibits the symbol as much a we see stop signs here.
Gratefulness and thankfulness each have its purpose, but have you ever viewed these words as levels of maturity? What I mean is a child will mimic what you say to him, but there will be no emotion behind it and that’s because there is not much intellect behind it. Imitation is what children do and it seems that some people never grow past mimicking.
We are taught by our parents to say thank you when someone does something for us. We say thank you as a sign of respect. We do it because it’s the “right” thing to do.
We grow up and understand thankfulness in the context that we learned it as a child. Thankful means to be glad or relieved that someone did something for us. That is a great thing to understand — when you are a kid.
Gratitude seems to be the next level because it means that you understand what has been done for you and you want to express an inward feeling outwardly. You want to do something because you are moved by what someone else has done for you.
Wow! That is different!
So ultimately our faith must do better than rest at thankfulness because faith without works is dead. So if we understand what God has done for us, then our actions should speak for us.
So if I am grateful for God’s unconditional love then I will give it to someone else. If I am grateful that God has forgiven me, then there is no way I don’t forgive. If I am grateful that God’s grace saves me from a state where I could not save myself, then why would I not be so grateful as to learn of him and shout from the roof top telling others about him?
Thankful appreciates. Grateful expresses the appreciation. Thankful shines with a smile. Grateful is a call to action.
Therefore, I need to be grateful instead of thankful. I need to be more of a doer and not just a hearer that my faith and trust in God may be displayed before the world.
I give God my thanks regularly, but I need to let him and everyone else know that I am grateful.