- Introduction -
Thanksgiving involves every aspect of our being, beginning in the depths of our spiritual nature where the Holy Spirit indwells born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gratitude He fosters in our heart proceeds into our minds, expresses itself through our words, and even involves the actions of our physical bodies. Indeed, the Apostle Paul offered his prayer for a complete sanctification of our "spirit and soul and body" in the context and atmosphere of "in everything give thanks" (I Thessalonians 5:18; 23).
We will consider in this series of messages the vital involvement and impact of gratitude to God in the hearts of those who trust the Lord Jesus. No spiritual grace more establishes the attitude in which our Lord's presence becomes the chief influence of the entirety of our life and being. The grateful Christian is, by definition, the trusting Christian, which furthermore results in the devoted and obedient Christian. Thereby we honor the One whom James declares to be the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (James 1:17). Our Father merits a lifetime and an eternity of our thanksgiving, and the mutual blessedness of His heart and our own ensues when we join the Psalmist in his holy determination of appreciation...
"O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever!" (Psalm 30:12).
**********************************Thanksgiving exists because there is someone - Someone - to thank. "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).
What if this were not true? What if the naturalist is correct that all things proceed simply as the result of chemical and physical processes, randomly played out in time and space with no conscious governing influence? What if there was no one to thank?
The thought first occurred to me several years ago when my wife and I looked out upon a sparkling lake on a sunny day in early autumn. The sublime scene mesmerized us to the degree we could barely pull ourselves away from the beauty that blessed our eyes and our hearts. "What if there was no one to thank for this amazing moment and experience?" I will never forget the wave of horror that the mere notion of such a prospect fostered in my mind. To this day, I shudder to imagine that millions of people live as enshrouded by so grave a darkness and deception. Indeed, consider what life would be like apart from the realization of God's gracious generosity, and our accompanying response of appreciation? Such is actually not "life" at all, is it? "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle, and a primary aspect of such vitality involves the recognition of the Lord Jesus as the source and supply of God's giving (Philippians 1:21).
There is someone to thank. Wonderful is the fact of the matter. And wonderful also is the faith of the matter as the Holy Spirit reminds us of "every good gift and every perfect gift," and then empowers the grateful acknowledgement that blesses both God's heart and our own. Yes, thanksgiving exists because of God's giving, and because the light of life in Christ enables us to see.
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."