A Thankfulness Challenge: 5-Minutes, 5 Types, 3 Weeks

Holidays / Personal Development //

wasn’t going to do this. Seems like everywhere I look someone is writing a blog post or article about being thankful. You know…Write it down. Tell someone. Post it.

And I wasn’t going to do it. Not only because “everyone’s doing it.” (Though that’s part of the reason.)

Mainly, I didn’t want to do it. But I need to do it. That’s why I’m doing it.

When I look at much of what’s happening around me, I don’t feel thankful. There seems to be more to complain about right now than to be grateful for. And not just small things. Big, important, really hard things as well.

Here’s a small sampling…

  • I live in the Seattle area, which means everyone is still reeling from the recent high school shooting in Marysville.
  • A friend’s father suddenly passed away this weekend.
  • I had a conversation with another friend in the last few days who lost his job in the recent Microsoft layoffs.
  • I could also throw in a car crash, a cancer battle, and marriages under fire.

In fact – and I’m not kidding – as I was writing the first paragraph of this post, I received a text from someone I haven’t talked to in a couple years with the words “I need some help.”

I want to complain. I want to whine. I want to gripe. I don’t want to be thankful.

That’s why I’m doing this. And I want to invite you to join me.

The challenge is simple in concept (but I have a feeling it’ll be tougher to complete).

Step 1: Commit to five minutes every day for the next three weeks. (In case you’re not looking at a calendar, that’ll take you to Thanksgiving morning.)

Step 2: Spend one minute being thankful in each of five categories. (More on that a few inches down.)

Step 3: Share something you are thankful for (that God brought to mind during your five minutes) on my Facebook Page or with a friend who is also doing the challenge.

That’s it. Not complicated. But so necessary.

5 Types of Thankfulness for 1 Minute Each

Thank God for WHO He is.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”Psalm 118:1 NLT

When was the last time you simply thanked God for who He is. For being…well…God.

Take one minute to focus on one characteristic of God. Or maybe spend a minute listing as many of God’s amazing attributes as you can.

Thank God for HOW He has been faithful.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”Psalm 9:1 NIV

I forget so quickly. God has done so many amazing things in my life over the last four decades. My tendency is to forget the many things He has done, and focus only on what He’s not doing right now that I think He should be doing.


For all their flaws, the Israelites did a pretty good job of setting aside times specifically to remember. Most of the times they messed up, it was when theyweren’t doing this. In fact, many of the Psalms are poems of gratitude for what God has done. (For starters, check out these Psalms: 26285675,100105106107, and 118.)

Thank God for WHAT He has provided.

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 NIV

Last Friday, I had coffee with a good friend. He and I got to talking about how we live in a “Culture of More.” We always think we need more. More stuff. Even when we know we don’t need more…we want more.

I don’t spend enough time thanking God for what I already have. For being grateful for the abundance of “stuff” (both necessary stuff and just-for-fun stuff).

Never is the “Culture of More” shouting more loudly than November and December. Spending even one minute every day being grateful for what we already have is probably a pretty good idea.

Thank God for WHOM He has put in your life.

“We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.” I Thessalonians 1:2 NLT

My single-most favorite characteristic about the Apostle Paul is how much he tells people he is thankful for them. He tells them he’s thankful. He tells them he’s praying for them. And he tells them exactly how he’s praying for them.

How cool is that?

When was the last time you took an inventory of the people you’re thankful for? Past and present. The people God has used to shape you, encourage you, challenge you, comfort you, and inspire you.

Now (and this part will take more than a minute), what would happen if you actually wrote a letter where the first line was “I thank my God every time I remember you…”? (Philippians 1:3)

Go ahead. Write at least one of those this month. I triple-dog-dare you! (Extra points if you put that movie reference in the comments below.)

Thank God for WHERE He will show up in the future.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21 NIV

Do you ever thank God in advance for what He’s going to do? My tendency is to thank Him for what He’s done, but only ask Him to do something in the future.

If He’s not bound by time (which He isn’t)

…and He can do anything (which He can)

…and He is good (which He is)

…and He always works for what is ultimately best for us (which He does)

…then doesn’t it seem like the most right and natural thing is for us to thank Him in advance for whatever He is going to do?

5 Minutes. 5 Categories. 3 Weeks.






About the Author

Keith Ferrin is an author, speaker, blogger, and storyteller who is passionate about helping people read, study, engage, and enjoy the Bible. He was a youth pastor for six years before writing and speaking fulltime. He is the author of three books, including Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word. He and his wife, Kari, have three kids who are the source of both his big smile and gray hair. They live just outside of Seattle. Keith also holds to the belief that coffee and ice cream are proof of a benevolent God.