Just two days until Thanksgiving! Are you ready for some pumpkin pie?!
This post makes the third and final one in the Thanksgiving series. The first post described why thanksgiving is God's will for His people. In last week's post we looked to Jesus as our example of how we can be thankful always.
Being thankful is God's will (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and we can overflow with thankfulness by living in Jesus (Colossians 2:6-7). So, what does this look like in our lives? Is thankfulness just something we feel or say? Is it just praying a quick “thank You” before a meal, or saying “thank you” when someone does something nice for us?
A truly thankful heart overflows in a lifestyle of praise to God and trust in Him. Thanksgiving is about, well, thanks-giving. Our thankfulness should be expressed.
Jesus is our ultimate example, and He lived a life of thankfulness to God. He expressed gratitude and trusted God to provide and keep His promises at all times.
In each of these situations, Jesus gave thanks to God even before the miracle took place. Jesus was able to do this because of His trust in God to provide.
We thank can God for His promises, but are we living in trust of His provision? We say thank you before a meal, but are we really relying on God to provide? We thank God that He always hears us, but is He the first one we turn to? We thank God that He has a plan for us, but are we trusting that He really does know what's best? We thank God for His love for us, but are we living in that love and letting it drive out fear and insecurities? We thank God that He is always with us, but are we living with courage?
We must let thanksgiving grow trust in our lives. In expressing gratitude, we are recalling the wonders God has done, and as we express thanks to God for what He has done, our trust in Him will grow.
In a previous post, we learned that thanksgiving goes hand-in-hand with praise and prayer. Both are ways in which we can express thanks to Christ. In God's Word, thanksgiving also goes hand-in-hand with telling of what God has done.
Putting into words those blessings God has given makes the reality of them more evident, and reminds us of the love and power of the Giver. As we give thanks and are constantly reminded of Jesus' presence and working in our lives, we trust Him more.
In Old Testament times, people would give “thank offerings” to express gratitude. These were not required offerings. The people would just give them as a way of showing their thankfulness. I just learned of “thank offerings” this past Sunday, and I find it inspiring and challenging that the people received something, and as a way of saying thank you, they then gave something.
This really displays trust. They trusted God to provide and He did, and instead of holding onto the provisions with tight fists, they gave back to God.
What if, as our way of expressing thanks, we gave? Not just putting 10% off our earnings in the offering plate as it passes, but sharing all the blessings God has given, letting our thanksgiving be thanks-and-giving? This could be in monetary form, or it could be in other ways; offering help, giving gifts, serving others.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, and even after the last of the turkey has disappeared from the fridge, let us express our thanks to God in praise, in prayer, in giving and in trusting God, no matter the circumstances.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Don't stuff yourselves too much!