Glenda Shouse: Why Do We Give Thanks?
Give thanks in all circumstances.~1 Thessalonians 5:18a NIV
Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce. The table is loaded with food and surrounded by family and friends.
Why? It is Thanksgiving Day! This is our day to give thanks for our blessings.
The food and friends are wonderful, but there is so much more to be thankful for than these superb blessings. Don’t forget God’s greatest gift to us–His Son–the Lord Jesus Christ, and the gift recorded in our Bibles, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).
Giving thanks in Greek is eucharisteo and is defined as “to give freely, to be thankful, to be grateful, to express gratitude.” During the second century, the Eucharist became the generic term applied to the Lord’s Supper. This word appears thirty-nine times in the New Testament and of these references, eleven reference the partaking of the Lord’s Supper (See 1 Corinthians 11:24). Twenty-eight times it describes praise words given to the Godhead. An example of this can be found in Psalm 30:12.
And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”~1 Corinthians 11:24 NKJV
Thanksgiving multiplies our blessings. As we give thanks, we apply the Word to our lives. Let’s look at the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand to see this principle in action. We read, “And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to the disciples and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6:11 NKJV). As the story continues, we see that all are fed, and they gather twelve baskets of leftovers. There is more than enough for everyone to fill their bellies, and there are plenty of leftovers for them to share another meal later. Jesus makes a bounty of little. And His prayer focuses the disciples on the importance of thanking God.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.~Psalm 30:12b NKJV
The giving of thanks is an important part of our relationship with the Lord; therefore, let’s make a commitment to practice thanking God every day. Take time to remember God’s love, mercy, and grace. Look for things to be thankful for, both big and small blessings. For example, I gave thanks to God for the sweet little bird that perched on my windowsill as I stood at the kitchen sink, I thanked Him for the beautiful sunrise, and I gave thanks for our very breath that He gives each of us so we may have life.
We are surrounded by God’s goodness, so once we open our spiritual eyes, we will notice how much we are truly blessed. When we see a troubled world, it takes heroic effort to remember the blessings that are ours, but they are there, so we must make a conscious decision to recognize them and thank God.
Whether your thanksgiving is turkey and stuffing or bread and fish, do you express your thanks to God for all He has given? Is every day a day of gratitude or grumbling? We decide which it will be. Will you thank Him for His many gifts? When you do, they become even sweeter as God’s goodness surrounds you.
What blessing can you share with someone who needs encouragement today?
Heavenly Father, remind me daily to say “thank You” with a heart full of gratitude for Your many blessings. Give me a desire to share my blessings and thankfulness with those around me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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