Mmm-mmm-m!! A steaming platter of turkey, bowls of potatoes, gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, baskets of hot rolls, and pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream. What does all that make you think of? Thanksgiving dinner!
Those of us in the United States think of the Pilgrims, the Indians, and the historic feast they shared so many years ago in celebration of God’s goodness. The Pilgrims set a good example by showing their appreciation to God, and we still honor that occasion. But the spirit of “thanksgiving” to God goes back a lot farther than that!
If you start reading in your Bible at 1 Chronicles 16:7, you will find that King David encouraged the Children of Israel to give thanks to God. David’s heart was filled to overflowing with gratitude to Him. God used David to tell the people how they could give Him thanks. The Children of Israel needed that advice, and we need it too!
How does a person go about saying “thanks” to God? By praying and simply saying, “Thank You” just as you would to anyone else. And it doesn’t have to be just when you’re on your knees either. (You might forget if you wait until then!) Suppose you had a near accident. Right then would be the time to breathe a prayer of thanks to God for His protection.
King David told the people they should always be thankful for what they had and for what was happening in their lives. That sounds easy doesn’t it? It is easy to be thankful when everything’s going well. But what about when a problem comes up or you’re sick?
One of our Sunday school teachers tells of a time when she became sick and she wasn’t feeling the least bit thankful. She began to pray that the Lord would make her feel better, but nothing happened. After a while, the thought came to her that she usually felt great, because God had blessed her with good health. Other things came to her mind—things God had done for her. Her sickness made her realize she had been taking a lot of things for granted. Immediately, she started thanking God for all the things she had forgotten to thank Him for earlier—and He healed her!
Have you ever done someone a favor and received no thanks? You weren’t in a hurry to do that person any more favors, were you? Do you think God feels the same way? No one would want to think he was guilty of always asking God for things but never saying thanks. It’s an easy habit to fall into. Being thankful and expressing it is something you have to work at.
If you have asked God to guide your life, He is constantly working things out for you. Sometimes He does things you’re not even aware of. For example, there may have been times when God protected you and you didn’t even know you were in danger. God deserves a lot of thanks! As you remember to thank God for the things you know He has done and anything you may not know about, He will continue to pour out blessing after blessing on your life. He will do more than you would think to ask for.
King David also encouraged the Children of Israel to share their experiences with others. God had taken them through some exciting times, and done many wonderful things. They had a lot to be thankful for, didn’t they? So do you, and when you tell a friend how God has helped you in a special way, don’t be surprised when he feels like thanking God with you. God will be able to see that through your sharing, you really do appreciate what He does for you!
When you stand up in church and give your testimony, that is a very special way of saying, “Thank You.” God hears it, and He will bless you and help you to overcome the trials you may face. Others will be blessed by your testimony too! It might help to remind them of how many things God has done for them too.
God blessed people who gave thanks back in King David’s time. He blessed the Pilgrims, and today, He’s still blessing people who take the time to say, “Thanks.”