It should go without saying that we should be thankful year around and not just on the 4th Thursday of November. It is wonderful that we set aside one day in particular to express our gratitude and Thanksgiving for all the blessings that God has given to us, however with the blessings that we have received comes an obligation.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)
The center of Thanksgiving is about what is in your heart. It should be an outpouring of gratitude to God for his provision and blessing. I want to emphasize that God is the source of every blessing, and that every good and perfect gift comes from him. I would hope that not only on Thanksgiving Day, but constantly we would be giving God praise for his goodness, and his mercy and his love. Jesus told us that we will speak out of the overflow that comes from our hearts. It is vital that we begin by thanking God and declaring his goodness and mighty works to everyone who will listen. “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:1-3 (NIV) I do not think that we can overemphasize the important of having a heart of gratitude and Thanksgiving.
An important element of offering praise to God is the understanding that he is the source of all good things. Although we may work hard and apply ourselves to our careers and other endeavors, we must never forget that the talents, aptitude and ability, not to mention our very lives is because God gave them to us. Along with this is a sense of humility, which does not presume that we in our own strength or resources would be able to do anything. An example for us is where David had gathered materials for the temple and had given them out of his own supply acknowledged that God is the source of all that he possessed. “But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14 (MESSAGE)A significant outcome of a life lived in gratitude and thanksgiving is the understanding that we are called to serve others. Look at verse 16 once again in the Message translation: “Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”Hebrews 13:16 (MESSAGE) Our sacrifices are to be practical in meeting the needs of people in the church and out in the world.
During this season of Thanksgiving as well as during the rest of the year, it is my hope that not only do we thank God for his blessings, but that we realize that we have been blessed so that we can be a blessing to others because that is one of the high callings for those who belong to Christ.