The scriptures that teach us to be thankful are numerous: "Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20). "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phlp. 4:6). "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thess. 5:17-18). "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Tim. 2:1). "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15). These are just a few examples.
This Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, is a national holiday. It is intended to encourage the people of our nation to stop and think about their blessings and to be thankful for them. I like this holiday! I like the thought behind it. I like that it serves to stimulate people to think about God, the giver of all blessings. It may help create a window of opportunity to reach some people with the gospel, while they're focused upon the spiritual side of life. For that, I am thankful.
Being thankful, however, is not just a one day in the year exercise. We have much for which to be thankful. The people of many nations would probably see most of those in this nation whom we consider to be poor as having great abundance, if not being outright wealthy. We're used to having more, and as a result we expect more. If we would focus more upon all of the blessings with which we have been blessed, rather than upon all of the things we think we want but don't have, we would probably find ourselves living happier lives. We need to express our thankfulness to God every day.
Being thankful is not something to be expressed only in prayer, either. Certainly, prayer is an excellent and appropriate avenue by which we can communicate our thankfulness to God. But it is not the only way we can do that, nor is it the only way we should do that. We need to express our thanks to God every day by the way we live our lives. Our attitude, the outlook through which we face each day, can and should express thankfulness. We should use each day of life thankfully- many people will not live through the day! We need to use, thankfully, all of the faculties that still work for us reasonably. Not everybody has good use of all of those same faculties. If we can think clearly, we should be thankful.; not everyone can. As we live each day, we should live it to God's glory, being thankful to be able to do so.
Being thankful is a 24/7 proposition. Let's remember all that we have for which to be thankful, and let's thank God for it continually...
Gary L. Hutchens