Psalm 30:12, “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever”
Hebrews 13:15, “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name”
Throughout history, many cultures have set aside a time for expressing their thankfulness. Next month on November 21, the United States has set aside that day to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, which originated with the Pilgrims. In the midst of extreme hardship, loss of loved ones, and meager supplies, the Pilgrims still believed they were blessed. They chose to celebrate God’s blessings by sharing a meal with Native Americans who had helped them survive.
The question we need to ask ourselves would be are we thankful for what we possess and for who we are? Someone stated it this way, “It’s not what’s in your pocket that makes you thankful but what’s in your heart”. If you have trusted Christ as Savior, God deserves your worship, obedience, and thankfulness in all things. It doesn’t matter:
(1) Whether the day goes smoothly or we meet aggravating problems.
(2) We can be thankful if we’re rich or poor.
(3) When we’re feeling well or if our health fails.
Thus, in every circumstance, we can affirm God’s goodness and discover reasons to give thanks to Him because He loves us and cares for us the way we are. The Psalmist said, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the growing Christians in Ephesus, he challenged them to follow Christ, which included “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. It would behoove us to practice such thankfulness to God. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, fuming about the unfairness of life, and asking more for ourselves.
If you haven’t read the book of Habakkuk in awhile, I would urge you to read the words contain in the three short chapters from this Prophet. As we prepare to set down to a traditional feast of turkey with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving Day, I was reminded of this book. Compared with the poverty of many of the world’s people today, as Americans we are very wealthy.
The prophet Habakkuk was awaiting the destruction of his country by the ruthless Chaldeans, whose army was called by God to punish His people for their disobedient and evil ways (Habakkuk 1:5-6). He said, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; thought the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
These words my brethren should make us stop and ask, “Are we thankful to God regardless of what He gives or withholds from us?” Here Habakkuk pondered how he would respond to the loss of every material blessing. He concluded, “I will joy in the God of my salvation” (v. 18). My brethren, our circumstances may change, but God remains the same because He is unchangeable. There are always reasons for thanksgiving and being thankful. So, I would urge you to take a few moments to reflect on:
(1)The Lord’s pardon.
(2) His constant protection.
(3) His faithful provision, and
(4) His abiding presence.
True thankfulness is more than being grateful for what we possess. It’s an attitude that permeates our relationship with the Lord so that we may serve Him with gladness of heart and with upmost joy. So, is your heart filled with praise, gratitude and thankfulness for all God has done for you? If so, praise Him right now, because He wants to hear your petitions of thanksgiving.
For the believer in Christ, thanksgiving is not just a day but a way of life.