This week families will gather together for the Thanksgiving Holiday. During this time together, the question may be asked, “What do we [I] have to be thankful for?” Some may have lost their jobs, some may have lost loved ones in death, some may have divorced, some may have relatives who are still serving overseas in combat zones, and yes, there are some who are still disgruntled over the presidential election results. And then there is the battle of the respective news media; one side purports that the economy is better, while the other side contends we are still in one of the worst ever economic crisis time periods. However, others may have gotten new jobs, completed their courses in higher education, gotten married, and/or rejoiced in the birth of a child. And most importantly, some have received Christ as their personal Savior. As one can see, to answer the question, “What do we [I] have to be thankful for?” will differ based upon how you perceive your past and/or your present circumstances.
Digging deeper into this question of “thanksgiving praise,” let us consider some other perspectives – for which we often take for granted. When was the last time that you were thankful for your health, your family, obedient and respectful children, your living loved ones – the fact that you have food on your table, a roof over your head, clothes on your back – and a place where you can gather together during this Thanksgiving Holiday? Just as important, when was the last time that you thanked the Lord for your home in Heaven? Too often we look at what we “don’t have” without ever considering what we “do have”. Equally true, we are often negligent in thanking God for being with us in our times of trouble, struggles and need. And the same can be said when the opposite is true. Many will go a whole year without ever thanking God for His daily provisions – and then, the “prayer of thanksgiving” is either hurried, a symbolic gesture at best, or completely neglected because everyone wants to eat the Thanksgiving turkey.
As children of God, we are exhorted to maintain an “attitude of prayer and thanksgiving“.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states,
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Colossians 3:15-17 also states,
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
If you neglect to have a [present] attitude of prayer and thanksgiving in your daily walk with the Lord, it will be most difficult for you to fully comprehend the depths of Romans 8:28,
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Likewise, if you struggle with thanking the Lord for His provisions in your own life, it will be most difficult for you to have praise and thanksgiving concerning the Lord’s provisions in someone else’s life. I will also ask you to consider, “When was the last time that you thanked the Lord for an opportunity to serve someone else?”
My prayer is that we will learn to praise the Lord [daily] – for, therein you will find true Thanksgiving! Let us all consider the psalmist words of Psalms 95:1-3,
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”
If you [a born again child of God] are still struggling with something to be thankful for, note the words of Luke 10:20b,
“but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Let us truly be thankful for God’s glorious grace! I pray that before you indulge in the Thanksgiving turkey you will recite what the Lord has done for and through your life this past year. May you truly have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!