In Everything Give Thanks!
Thanksgiving 2018. It’s that time of the year in the United States when we celebrate Thanksgiving! From history we learn that the first official Thanksgiving Proclamation in the US was given by our first President, George Washington. It was declared Thursday November 26, 1789 as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. The Bible, which is the sole guide of our faith and practice, has much to say about the subject of thanksgiving, maybe even more than you may realize. In fact, in the King James Version of the Bible the subject of thanks is referenced in different word forms in 137 different scripture verses. Words like thank, thanks, thankful and thanksgiving and others are used throughout the Bible. Today I want to explore some of the verses of the Bible that show us the importance of thanksgiving. The first verse is from I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
The Apostle Paul is writing to the Church in Thessalonica and instructing them to be a thankful people. Notice that he says “In every thing give thanks”. That means in every circumstance give thanks. That means in every part of life give thanks. No one likes to be around people that are unthankful and that take everyone and everything around them for granted. So be a thankful person!
Jesus sets the example of thankfulness for us. When He was having communion with the disciples He gave thanks. We read in Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Notice as Jesus took the bread, He “gave thanks”. This verse also instructs us that the bread is a symbol of something much more dear… the body of Jesus, the very life of Him that would be sacrificed for our sins on the cross. We also learn the purpose of communion is to do it in “Remembrance of Him”. It is hard to imagine that we could ever forget the sacrifice of His death on the cross, but sadly we do. So He instituted communion as a way to remember and honor His death on the cross. So we should follow Christ’s example of being thankful. We should also be thankful for His death on the cross providing the way of salvation to everyone who believes in Christ. The Psalms are rich with admonitions of praise and thanksgiving. It says in Psalm 136:1-3 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.” God is worthy of our thanksgiving for His goodness and mercy. In Psalm 107 we see repeated 4 times this verse, Psalm 107:8. “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for “his wonderful works to the children of men!” The desire is that people would praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works. The book of Psalms closes in chapter 150 with this instruction, Psalm 150:6 “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” This year may your life be filled with praise and thanksgiving for all that God has given you including your family, your job, the freedom that we enjoy in this country, and also the gift of Salvation God has given through His Son Jesus Christ! Happy Thanksgiving!