Giving thanks is an opportunity to be embraced
In the midst of extreme busyness, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Thanksgiving is certainly about family, food, and football, however, it is imperative that the actual giving of thanks not be defined by a brief prayer over our Thanksgiving meal.
First of all, giving thanks is a “personal” responsibility. No one can give thanks unto the Lord on our behalf. Being thankful is not a minor matter with God. The word “thanks” is found 73 times in God’s Word. Jesus exemplified the importance of giving thanks. In Matthew 11:25, Jesus gave thanks as He sent His disciples out and gave them power over all the power of the enemy. We can give thanks that God has infused us with the power and authority of Jesus’ shed blood, the Holy Spirit and that name that is above every name: Jesus! Each of us would do well to carve out some quiet time with God and tell Him all that we are thankful for. Without doubt we are grateful for the comforts of life - the tangible and touchable blessings. For the Christian, the most valuable possession we have is our salvation that comes through Christ. If you have Jesus…. you are rich in ways this world can never afford.
Secondly, Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:18: “IN EVERYTHING give thanks”. I have found that easy to preach, but hard to practice. For all of us — life happens. God is good all the time but, life isn’t good all the time. The unexpected and unwanted circumstances come. How easy it is to be consumed with all the problems and predicaments of life. The fact is, we don’t always feel thankful. Perhaps that describes you this Thanksgiving. The lack of feeling thankful in no way negates the validity or value of your thanks. Giving thanks in the absence of feeling thankful is an act of faith and it is by that same faith, we will walk through whatever we are going through.
The last part of I Thessalonians 5:18 says: “…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us”. In direct concern for us, God instructs us to be thankful - not occasionally, not seasonally or just at church. Giving thanks unto the Lord not only blesses God, it blesses us. Giving thanks is about God but, it’s also about us and our spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being. The giving of thanks has a therapeutic effect upon the one giving thanks. It’s virtually impossible to be thankful and have a sour, pessimistic outlook. You can’t be a worshiper and a whiner. In God’s concern for us…. He exhorts us to give thanks.
David wrote in Psalms 118:29, “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever”. It’s possible to spend all your money, max out your credit and call in all your favors – but the mercy of God will never end. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for!