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Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Have you ever thought about how the Bible ties a great deal of meaning to the concept of being thankful? But most of that meaning is lost to us today. To us, thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude. As kids, we’re taught that “please,” and “thank you” those key words that compel adults to give us what we want. “Thanks!” becomes code, then instinct.

If I can be honest, I say “thanks” a lot. I don’t mean it every time. I’m pretending to be grateful; sometimes I just say it before I’ve even had time to process what I’m supposed to be thankful for. It’s the polite thing to do, like saying “bless you” after a sneeze or “God bless you,” for extra spirituality points.

I thought responding this way was the right thing to do, until I noticed it was not lining up with the word of God. I would read a passage that mentioned thanksgiving, and just kind of skim over the concept. I’ve trivialized the word “thanks”. I don’t think about what it means. I don’t think about what it’s pointing to. Thankfulness is a big deal in the Bible. In fact, it’s one of the few specific things that we’re told is God’s will for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So, I began looking at definitions of thanksgiving in the Bible. I ask myself what does it mean to give thanks? Thankfulness comes up 71 times in the New Testament, thankfulness, or a related word. The definition: “To show oneself grateful, to be thankful, to give thanks.”

The more we learn about God, the more we should praise and glorify Him. The Bible repeatedly calls us to give thanks to the Lord for two things: His lovingkindness, and for his miracles among men.

Psalm 107: 1,8,15,21(NIV)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

This isn’t just a polite “thank you” for when something good happens. This is an outpouring of praise to God for who He is and what He has done. How do we give thanks?

Psalm 107: 4 -5 (NIV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”

Have a “Thankful” Thanksgiving.

God Bless, Israel

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