“We give thanks to God always for all of you” (1 Thess. 1:2).
“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name” (Psalm 30:4).
Thanksgiving is associated with a holiday in America. It is found in the same breath as other holiday terms like food, pie, turkey, football, pie, and more food (given that each family’s tradition differs a bit, the generic “food” will have to do). Then we think of it as being over. I wonder how many enjoy the holiday of Thanksgiving without actually being thankful to God for what they have and enjoy. It should be about the food only insofar as the partaker is grateful to God for the rich blessings.
For the child of God, thanksgiving is not so much a holiday as a way of life. Thanksgiving is never over. The attitude should never be about one time of year: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:16-18); “…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father…” (Eph 5:20); “…singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:16-17); “De
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Col 4:2); “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6); “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God” (2 Cor 9:12); “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give praise to His name” (Heb. 13:15). Do we get the point?
A survey of thankfulness in Scripture reveals its association with prayer. A stronger prayer life will mean a stronger sense and attitude of thanksgiving to God. A weaker prayer life puts us in danger of forgetting about the source of our blessings. The worst scenario is described by Paul in Romans as he writes about those who, though they knew God, did not honor Him as God or give thanks and so became futile in their thinking (Rom 1:21). The ungrateful spirit is connected to other undesirable characteristics: lovers of self and money, boastful and arrogant, disobedient, unholy, unloving and malicious, etc. (see 2 Tim 3:1-5). The connection should be clear. When we think of God, we should be filled with a sense of awe and thankfulness. Children of God ought to know how often they should think of God. God is good, not just at certain times of the year, but always. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:1; cf. Psalm 100). Everlasting lovingkindness deserves our everlasting thanksgiving.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good … Give thanks to the God of gods … Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His loving kindness is everlasting” (Psalm 136:1-3).
Paul’s devotion to thanksgiving is evident in his epistles. Most of them begin with some sort of thanksgiving (Rom., 1-2 Cor., Eph., Phil., Col., 1-2 Thess., 1-2 Tim., Titus, Philemon). Paul kept his readers constantly aware of the source of their blessings, reminding us once again that thanksgiving is not a holiday, but a way of life.
The spirit of the child of God is captured well in this great messianic passage from Isaiah:
Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. (Isa. 12:1-6 NAU)
Think about this passage for a few minutes, then reflect on what we should be thankful for. Is thanksgiving over for you?
“But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).
“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen” (Rev 7:12).
Article by Doy Moyer