(Friends: during the next few weeks, as we approach the observance of thanksgiving in the United States, many (perhaps all) of the messages will address the theme of thanksgiving and gratitude. Thanks, Glen)
In less than three weeks, Americans will once again observe a day set aside for thanksgiving. Originated by the Pilgrims in the 1600s, and institutionalized by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, many Americans commemorate Thanksgiving Day (this year on November 22nd) as an observance of gratitude for the blessings of life.
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).
I am glad that our nation still regards and observes the Day. However, I am far more grateful that born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ possess the privilege of viewing every day in terms of thanksgiving, or rather, "thanksliving." Indeed, our Heavenly Father is so worthy of our appreciation that if we used every breath to give thanks for His gracious generosity, eternity would not suffice in fully expressing acknowledgment for His grace in our Savior. In response to such kindness, believers must build an altar within our hearts to visit often. This fosters a perpetual attitude of gratitude within us, leading to the glory of God, the blessing of others, and our own experience of life lived in the reality that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).
The very capacity to appreciate God as the giver of all things is in itself a gift. Our Lord does not need our gratitude. He exists as a perfectly self sufficient being, dwelling in the eternally and infinitely satisfying love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He requires nothing from anyone for the fulfillment of His own heart (Acts 17:25). We, however, are completely needy beings, including the vital matter of acknowledging and appreciating God's provision. Thus, in the personal sense, His Biblical commands that call us to give thanks concern our spiritual, emotional, and even physical requirements. Thanksliving and the attitude of gratitude involve our walking in the light of reality. God is the giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift" and of "life and breath and all things." We are the recipients. Thus, a life of thanksgiving paves the only sane and spiritually satisfying path upon which we can live our lives. The Psalmist realized such illuminating truth and exulted, "I will give thanks unto Thee forever!" (Psalm 30:12).
When we realize that God's good grace in its infinitely myriad expression comes to us by way of our Savior's suffering, forsakenness, and death on the cross of Calvary, the longing to "in everything give thanks" burns brightly upon the hearth of our hearts. As a matter of joyous conviction, thanksliving becomes the path upon which desire to journey forevermore, and in this day. In that regard, allow me to close for the purpose of visiting the aforementioned altar, where I know you will join me in this day's opportunity for grateful offering…
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Weekly Memory Verse
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him.