Thanksgiving and the Giving of Thanks

by Gene Taylor

Even though we do not observe Thanksgiving as a holy day or a religious holiday, it is a time when most Americans are thankful for the blessings they have received.

Such an expression of gratitude is proper. But rather than expressing it just one day each year, we ought to be thankful every day. We receive blessings on a daily basis, therefore we should be thankful daily. In the model prayer of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:11, Jesus taught us to pray to God so that He might, "Give us this day our daily bread." 1 Timothy 4:3 states that God created foods which are "to be received with thanksgiving." Verse four continues the thought by saying, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving."

Our thanksgiving should be directed to God for the blessings we have because He is the source of all good things. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17). "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things" (Acts 17:24-25). Many of the people who will be thankful on Thanksgiving Day, will fail to be thankful to God. Since "all things" we receive are from God, we should thank Him for all things -- all the physical blessings and privileges we enjoy.

After Jesus had cleansed ten lepers, only one of them thanked Him for it. Jesus asked, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:17-18). Those who receive blessings from God, must be thankful to Him.

Christians ought to be even more expressive and fervent in their expressions of thanksgiving to God because not only are they blessed with those material blessings that sustain physical life but also receive all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3) which sustain them spiritually and enable them to overcome sin and death in order to live eternally.

Those spiritual blessings, if you are not receiving them now, are available to you if you will submit to the gospel for the salvation of your soul. There is no better way to show gratitude to God for that which He has graciously given to us than by living in submission to His will, loving, acknowledging, and thanking Him as obedient children. Thanksgiving Day, and every day, let us give thanks to God.