Psalm 136:1 O Give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Today is Thanksgiving Day. A day that, as a nation, we set aside to thank God for all of His goodness and blessings. Sadly it has devolved into just a day to give thanks, or be thankful. But is just being thankful enough? Can you really be thankful withoutving an object to direct your gratitude? We often hear, “I’m thankful for…” But thankful to whom?
Sadly, the further we get from God the more ungrateful we become, and vice versa. Romans 1:21 declares, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful…” From there, the downhill slide gets more and more vile as man runs from God toward reprobation. The first step away from God is ingratitude. One of the signs of the “perilous last days” in 2 Timothy 3, is the people are unthankful. I would venture to say ingratitude is the first step to ruining any relationship.
On the contrary, God commands us to always be thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” That does not mean, in everything there is something to be thankful for. It means to give thanks for everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly. That is why Paul and Silas could sing praises in prison. That is why the martyrs could boldly meet their end. “… The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
We have developed such a self-centered society that gratitude has become unnatural. It is something that must be intentional. Yet for the Christian, we have so much to be thankful for. In Psalm 103, we are told that remembering the Lord’s benefits blesses God. The first in the list of God’s benefits is forgiveness of sin! What a thing to be thankful for. Because of the sacrifice Christ made for me, I am pardoned of all my sins! If nothing good ever happened to me, I am blessed beyond measure because God has removed my guilt and eternal penalty that my sin calls for, and He has replaced it with the gift of eternal life, adoption into God’s family, and a home in heaven. I’m blessed! Then, beyond all of that, He has blessed me with an astounding bride, four amazing children, a wonderful church family, health and soundness of mind, and as the song writer put it, “blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” (Chisholm, 1923).
We have much to be thankful for, but let’s be sure to direct that thanksgiving to it’s proper place. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Refrain: Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
– Thomas Obediah Chisholm, 1923
Have a happy Thanksgiving today, and everyday, for God is good!