I know. It’s November. Everybody and their brother is talking about thankfulness this month. I’m probably only one of 4.3 gazillion bloggers who’ll be writing about it. Everyone on Facebook is posting about it. But…are we thankful? Truly thankful?
According to Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of thankful is “glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.” or “conscious of benefit received.” I think the first definition is the most popular. I believe most folks are glad when good things happen to them. But, I don’t know that we’re always paying close attention to those things. That’s why I like the second definition better. All too often, we’re so busy looking at what’s wrong, we fail to see what’s right.
On Biblegateway.com, I searched for the word “thank” (in the NASB version). The search brought up all scriptures with “thank,” including the words that have “thank” as part of the word, like thanksgiving or thankfulness. It came up with 170 results. Hmmm….not bad.
So, what does scripture say about thankfulness? Well….a lot. In fact, there’s no way I could cover everything it says about thankfulness in one blog. I can tell you this, the Psalms speak of giving thanks a LOT! Giving thanks with music and song and alone and in a crowd. Giving thanks because He delivers us from our enemies, because He helps us, because He is good. Over and over, the Psalms say, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Of course, there are other books of the Bible that cover giving thanks to God. In 1 Samuel, Hannah sang a song of thanksgiving because God had blessed her with a child. 1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.” Ezra 3:11 says, “They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.’” Nehemiah 12:27 says, “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem so that they might celebrate the dedication with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres.” Isaiah 25:1 says, ” O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den for worshiping, praising, praying to and thanking God. Jonah said he would sacrifice with a voice of thanksgiving. In the gospels, Jesus thanked God often. And, those are just a few examples.
However, there’s one verse that I think encompasses the very essence of giving thanks. It is, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Did you catch that part where it said “everything”?
It’s very easy to thank God for good things. I happily thank Him for my husband (most days, anyway), my children, my mom, my best friend. It’s easy to thank Him for the high spots in our lives – celebrations, successes, vacations, special moments. But, what about those other times? What about those times we’re wallowing in the valley when all we want to do is be on the mountaintop again? Do we thank Him then? We’re supposed to. See what that verse says? “In everything.”
I know how hard that can be, how difficult it can be to be thankful when it feels like your life is crashing down around you. Trust me. My life isn’t always a bed of roses. If it is, it sometimes seems I only get the thorn part. But, the truth is, I am blessed. Beyond measure. And so are you. Maybe it’s just time we noticed.
I think, though, the point of it is this….we’re not called to be thankful because we get what we want or because we’re happy or because we like the way life is going. In fact, I think true thankfulness has nothing to do with us. And everything to do with Him. God. Our Creator. Lover of our souls. Deliverer. Conqueror. Father. Advocate. Lord. Alpha and Omega. Author of Life. Prince of Peace. Jesus. Holy Spirit. Our Hope. Savior. Sanctuary. Faithful God. Love. Majestic Glory. He is worthy of our thankfulness if He never does another thing for us. After all, we owe Him our very lives because He gave His for us. And, then, He does so much more! Every name I listed is given as an attribute. If those don’t get you excited, I challenge you to google “Names of God” or “Names of Jesus.” You oughta be shoutin’ then!
So. Are you thankful now?
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.