So much to be thankful for...
By Pastor Brandon Trott
If there is a word that is strangely absent from our society today, it would be “thanks” or “gratitude.” Sure, we occasionally use those words in polite conversation. But they are throw-away lines. This is baffling considering we have more reasons to give thanks than any generation before us. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We should ask, what inspires a sense of gratitude?
Thankfulness is the response of a person who has received undeserved goodness. A person feels thankful when a stranger stops to help them change a tire on their car. When a doctor saves a dying child. We feel gratitude for parents who gave us life, fed us and clothed us. It is the proper response to others’ kindnesses—a virtue that flows from the humble heart. On the contrary, a lack of thankfulness is an expression of pride, entitlement and discontentment.
The first place thankfulness ought to be directed is toward God our Creator. Incidentally a trademark attitude of those who are unrighteous and suppress the truth of God, is their refusal to “give thanks to Him” (Rom. 1:21). All ingratitude and self-pity can be traced back to this root of bitterness. Despite being given life, seeing the masterpiece of God’s beautiful Creation (mountains, stars, flowers), breathing God’s air, and eating God’s food—plus a thousand other blessings we take for granted, we neglect to give God praise for His gifts.
Somehow, we can live in the most affluent and convenient society in the history of the world without being grateful. Somehow, we believe that we need more to be happy. If circumstances were a little more favorable, we would be content. If only life were more comfortable, we could give God thanks.
But our lack of thanks has nothing to do with circumstances: sickness, poverty or affliction. We are ungrateful because we are too entitled to recognize how good the Lord has been to us. And for this reason, we withhold our praise.
One author said: “As the Dead Sea drinks in the river Jordan, and is never the sweeter, and the ocean all other rivers, and is never the fresher, so we are apt to receive daily mercies from God, and still remain insensible of them, unthankful for them. The rain comes down from heaven in showers; it goes up but in mists.”
— Dr. Thomas, D. D.
Isn’t it a pity to realize that this is often more true than we would like to admit? Especially considering one reason God saves sinners and delivers His people is to give them an occasion to show their gratitude through praise. “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us…that we may give thanks to your holy name…”(1 Chr. 16:35).
Preparing the way
The Psalms declare that all communion and prayer to God ought always to be initiated with thankfulness. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving” (Ps. 100:4). And there are untold blessings in expressing our gratitude to God. Thanksgiving in praise prepares the way for the Lord to fight on our behalf. God instructed Israel to, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever…”(2 Chr. 20:21). And when they sang praises, “the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed”(2 Chr. 20:21-22).
You are loved
Beloved, you have much to be grateful for. You are loved by God. Your Designer and Creator hung on a cross and rose from the dead to become your Redeemer. He has given you “precious and very great promises”(1 Pet. 1:4). As you prepare your heart to “give thanks to the LORD,” look back over your life and “Remember the wondrous works that He has done” and you will be able to “Glory in His holy name” (Ps. 105:1, 5, 3).