Being "thankful" to God is often spoken of as a "duty," and "obligation." While no objection can rightfully be registered to thanksgiving as such, we surely must not limit our understanding of it to this realm. One might as well think of watermelon as being composed only of rind, or of roses only of thorns if we fail to see the purely voluntary and "from-the-heart" side of thanksgiving. While duty and obligation define the obedient nature of the children of God, there is much more to our relationship to God than response to commands.
That being "thankful" is a command is evident from the scriptures. Both the Old Testament and the New remind us not to be forgetful of God’s bountiful blessings. Psalm 100:4 teaches, "…be thankful unto him and bless his name…" Colossians 3:15, after reminding us that the peace of Christ should rule our hearts, says, "…and be ye thankful." Without a doubt, we need such reminders. Like little children must be taught not to take favors from others for granted but to say "thank you," so also must we be reminded not to take God for granted. But here is the difference we must strive to see. A little child may be polite and, from the result of training in the home, say "thank you" when given something, observing etiquette alone, without feeling grateful in his heart. This is quite different from actually being thankful for the favor bestowed.