Psalm 103:1-2, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”
In his letters, the apostle Paul helped his readers to develop a theology of gratitude. He wrote about thanksgiving more often than any other New Testament author. Thanksgiving was always directed toward God and never toward people. People were gifts from God, and Paul thanked God for their growth, love, and faith (1 Corinthians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2).
Thanksgiving is given through Jesus for everything (Colossians 3:15, 17). Paul believed followers of Jesus could be thankful for everything because God is sovereign, and He is working things out for the believers’ good. May we intentionally be aware of God’s gifts all around us, and respond with gratitude. In response to God’s gifts, it’s natural to say, “Thank You, Lord.”
With the above fixed in our mind, here are six things to think about this Thanksgiving Day holiday, but more importantly each day thereafter, we need to be thankful for what the Lord has so graciously given to each of us.
One Cup of Contentment
Philippians 4:11-12, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”
Contentment is very rare. Neither the rich nor the poor are content, so thanksgiving is rare as well. Whether God has chosen to give him much or little, it is the right amount from a wise and loving Father. Contentment must be learned.
Ten Tablespoons of Thoughtfulness
Psalm 103:2, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”
Thinking of God’s many blessings will lead to thanksgiving. So times of meditation are needed: short ones at mealtimes, longer ones on rising and retiring, and regular ones in the Lord’s house. If you think, you will thank.
Six Teaspoons of Self-Knowledge
1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you different from anyone else?” What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as through you did not?”
My beloved, only when we recognize that we have no claim to anything at all will we be grateful for whatever God gives us. Those who presume that they deserve much do not give thanks but give vent to bitterness, envy, jealousy, and greed. They consume and destroy, but thanksgiving brings joy and enrichment of character and courage for the days ahead.
All in a New Heart
Colossians 3:15, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you”
All of these ingredients are related. A thoughtful person will be contented; a contented person has faith in God’s wisdom; a wise man knows both how small and how great he it. And these graces will be developed best when Jesus rules the heart, turning it from greed and envy to service and thanksgiving.
Season with Song, Thanksgiving, Worship
Psalm 95:1-6, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let s come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker”
Having all of the main ingredients may make the pie, but without the proper seasoning it may not be fit to eat. The spices are the smallest parts of a recipe but add the most flavor by themselves or by bringing out the best flavor of other ingredients. Add to your life the spice of Joy—joy is a combination effect of properly using song-thanksgiving-worship.
Allow to Cure
Proverbs 3:1-8, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones”
A good recipe not only gives a feeling of great satisfaction and accomplishment as the efforts of the labor pays off in an enjoyable, delicious dish of food, but it also provides a source of strength – health and life. To maintain life, a person must continue to get good food and water. So it is with spiritual life and even more so. Good spiritual life makes good physical life.
Upon entering the hotel lobby I say the largest arrangement of fresh flowers that I had ever seen. It was bursting out with color, perfectly arranged, and its fragrance was simply amazing. It stopped me in my tracks, and I lingered for just a moment to admire its beauty. It made me think that there is something about abundance that captures our hearts. Think of the inviting beauty of a bowl overflowing with colorful fruit, or a countertop covered with three or four pies ready for enjoyment after a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.
The joy of abundance reminds me of the generosity of God which our Pastor spoke about in his morning message. God surely makes our cup overflow (Psalm 23:5); He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20); His grace is sufficient for any difficulty that life brings our way (2 Corinthians 12:9); and it is He who kills the fatted calf and calls for the best robe when the prodigal returns (Luke 15:20-24).
My beloved, no wonder the psalmist rejoices, “How precious is you loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house” (Psalm 36:7-8). Our God is abundantly good. Let’s overflow with praise for His many blessings.
Keep praising God from whom all blessings flow.