the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
The Bible has a lot to say about thanksgiving. There are animal sacrifices and grain offerings of thanksgiving along with songs of thanksgiving to accompany the sacrifice. There are psalms of thanksgiving and special choirs of thanks assembled to sing the psalms. The psalms and songs of thanks are to be offered often and used to call fellow believers to worship.
God's Word tells us that thanks should be offered openly, even when we find ourselves among non Christians. We should give thanks at the thought of God's holy name, when we consider his great deeds and when we meditate upon his love and mercy. We are to give thanks because God is the one true God, because he is the creator and because he is the Lord of lords and God of gods.
The Bible enjoins us to give thanks for the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the homes we live in. We are told to give thanks for Jesus Christ our savior and to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. We are commanded to give thanks for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for all manner of men. Indeed whatever we do in word or deed, we must do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him, thus giving thanks in everything.
Although the Bible clearly bids us to give thanks we often find it difficult to do so. In fact, rather than give thanks, we do the opposite and complain. And complaining is one of the things God hates most.
The primary reason we fail to give thanks is that we think too highly of ourselves. We believe we deserve more and complain if we don't get it. We think we merit a more thoughtful spouse, more respectful children and more considerate neighbors. We complain about our job, our appearance and lack of talent. In all these examples (and many more) we charge God with wrongdoing and claim to know better than he concerning what is best for us. The truth is, at any point in our lives, God has given us just what we need. It is the obedient and thankful follower of Jesus Christ who is blessed – which serves to increase his humility and thankfulness.
Next week people all across the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of them will do so without giving a thought to the Giver of all good things. Their celebration will revolve around food, football and fellowship – all good things but ultimately like gravel in the mouth of those who fail to acknowledge the one from whom all blessings flow. It is our heavenly Father who provides the context for giving of thanks. Even the wealth of the whole world is of no value to him whose soul is bound for hell. Without Jesus, men remain responsible for the giving of thanks but in the absence of a relationship with Christ their thanks is misdirected and hollow.
We will revisit this topic next week.