Thursday, November 23, 2017

“Intelligent Thanksgiving”

"Intelligent Thanksgiving"

    I recently heard a public figure express gratitude, but not to the Lord or to people.  "I thank my lucky stars that things worked out!" declared the grateful gentleman who used his God-given capacity for thanksgiving, but not for any purpose related to truth.   In real terms, he may as well have said, "I thank those mindless, heartless bags of gas that float out there in space, the ones who somehow orchestrate fortuitous events for me!"

   "I will give thanks unto Thee, o Lord" (II Samuel 22:50).

   It is one thing to express gratitude.  It can be quite another to do so in the light of reality.  If neighbor Ralph helps me paint our house, but I send a note of gratitude to John, another fellow who lives nearby, both men would wonder if I had lost my mind.  Far more importantly, if the Lord and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ exists as the active and involved Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift," we would lose both heart and mind if we misdirect our gratitude toward another (James 1:17).  Long ago, God strictly warned Israel not to "worship the host of heaven" rather than Heaven's true Lord and Father (Deuteronomy 4:19).  We must be careful to intelligently express thanksgiving in the light of reality and Biblical truth if we are to use our capacity for gratitude in a manner that honors God, and blesses the hearts of both ourselves and those who hear our expression of gratitude.

    The altar of thanksgiving is no place for mere ritual, or again, misguided and mindless worship.  God gave us a brain for countless reasons, one of which is the recognize the true Provider of "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).  "Lucky stars" are among a pantheon of false gods to whom human beings offer thanksgiving.  Thus, born again believers must seek to know our real Benefactor as well as possible in order to properly acknowledge and thank Him for gifts given from His heart of gracious generosity.  Indeed, perhaps the greatest truth of all declares that "my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).  "By Christ Jesus" - in other words, our Savior's suffering, forsakenness, death, and loss made possible the gain of our salvation and eternal relationship with God.  Every good and perfect gift therefore comes to us with a price tag, as it were, but not because we must pay for gifts given.  The Lord Jesus purchased all things for us by shedding His precious lifeblood.  Remembering this Truth of all truths forms and informs our capacity to give thanks in truth and reality.  No lucky stars died for us, nor did anyone or anything else.  In such holy light we join the Psalmist in expressing mindful and heart-filled gratitude both now and forevermore…

"O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever!"
(Psalm 30:12)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
(Hebrews 12:28)

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