What is Thanksgiving?
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving (Col. 4:2 KJV)
Scripture is replete with the exhortation to give thanks to the Lord (thanksgiving). Giving thanks is closely related to praise and worship. If you live in North America, be careful not to equate what the Bible calls thanksgiving to the yearly Thanksgiving holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving in the Bible is a human response to God’s goodness with an attitude of gratitude towards Him. We will briefly examine three key features of thanksgiving: human response to God’s goodness, attitude of gratitude, and the expression.
When we give thanks to the Lord, we respond to His goodness. A response implies a reactional feature; we react to God’s benevolent actions toward us. Moreover, this response is not an intermittent outburst of gratitude but a lifestyle, a manner of life, a perpetual attitude of gratitude toward Him.
Our response in thanksgiving is triggered by an appreciation of the value of God’s goodness to us. The Psalmist said: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:2). We cannot be thankful, even to other people, if we do not recognize the value of what they have done for us. Have you ever met someone who behaves as though they need nobody?—they see no value in the help of others. They cannot truly be thankful because they feel they could have done it anyway without any help. Such an attitude is dangerous, not only in our relationships with God but with the people. Ingratitude kills relationships.
The response of a grateful heart is expressed in some way, often by words but also by actions. For example, a grateful heart will often genuinely say “thank you”.
So, give thanks to the Lord always.
Given the devotionals above, what is thanksgiving?
Apply the Word
Is your heart typically grateful, whether to people or to God? Do you see benefits you enjoy because of others? Be appreciative of others, and certainly of the Lord.
Thank the Lord for sending Jesus to die for our sins.
- The Prayer of Thanksgiving
- What it Means to Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving
- Becoming pro-active in thanksgiving
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