Several years ago, I preached a message titled “Thanks-living” which obviously was timely for the season we are now in: Thanksgiving. Sadly, in recent years, Thanksgiving has been missed and I have said that the reason for the absence between Halloween and Christmas is because people just want stuff, yet they have no sense of gratitude for it. The current tone in society is a direct reflection of how our hearts have failed at being thankful. It is no wonder that our children have little to no idea of what it means to be truly grateful and content with the many blessings which God has given us.
While I am grateful for a day in which many are able to step aside from the hustle and bustle of life, gather with family, and give thanks to the Lord, the following day usually drowns out all our efforts.
This is why we should heed the words of Paul to the believers in Thessalonica: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). So this totally throws a damper on this once-a-year celebration of thanks. Rather, it assumes that thanksgiving is a lifestyle. Now do you see why I titled that message Thanks-living? We are to be a living testimony of gratitude.
It still amazes me how I can hold the door for someone (either male or female) and not even get so much as an acknowledgement of the kind gesture which used to be commonplace. Are we really that wrapped up in ourselves that we cannot utter two simple words: “Thank you?” I am at best an average parent (not good by any stretch of the imagination), but I have tried to teach my children the importance of thanking someone for anything they do that is kind. Believe it or not, even as a millennial, I am still a firm believer in thank you notes. I think it is necessary to tell someone that you appreciate their gift, kind words, or whatever kind deed they did.
God’s Word is replete with thanksgiving. I mean, look at the Psalms—you cannot miss the theme that flows through this huge book of songs: thanksgiving! Psalm 106:1 says “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Or how about the amazing passage in Psalm 100 that is a staple for giving thanks? That is a truly timely psalm for this time of year! There is no shortage of Bible verses and passages in which we can and should immerse ourselves in order to adopt a lifestyle of thanksgiving.
The major takeaway this weekend would be this: make an intentional effort not to limit your thanksgiving to one particular day, or even to a single season. Instead, remember daily the many blessings that God lavishes on us as his children. Above all, remember the cross! You cannot think about the sacrifice of Jesus without being overwhelmed with thankfulness for his selflessness and love for us! So do you want to practice Thanks-living? It begins with a heart full of thanksgiving and will transform any attitude to an attitude of gratitude!