The Verse of the Day for November 24, 2016, Thanksgiving Day, speaks of expressing thanks or showing gratitude to God for what He has given to believers through His son:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
These same sentiments are expressed in the prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT):
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
In reflecting on these verses, I thought of an incident that occurred a year ago. Sitting in a waiting room, I observed a young child who was given a coloring book and some crayons. The child smiled and said, “Thank you.” He showed items to his mother, and she asked her son, “Did you say thank you?” The person who gave the gifts responded, “Yes, ma’am. He sure did.”
From the earliest days of childhood we are taught that when someone gives you a gift, our response should be some expression of gratitude, namely to say “Thank you.” And so it is with the Children of God, we are taught not only to express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father with the words that we speak but with way we conduct our lives. Our lives should be abounding with giving thanks to God, not just on the Fourth Thursday in November every year, but our lives should overflow with gratitude to God every day and in every way.
In a previous entry on Thanksgiving Day, I posted some of the following comments:
In any situation, one of the critical factors contributing to our success or failure is “attitude.” Of course, the discussion of attitude comes full circle with this reminder that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” For believers thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”; that is, our ability to respond to God’s love and grace. We endeavor to demonstrate our gratitude to God from the fullness of our hearts, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful we are, we desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” which some have called “thanksliving.”
More than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. This time of the year, as we approach the final holiday season of the year, our lives should especially abound with thanksgiving to God for “His unspeakable gift.” Without question, “thanksgiving” is the reason for every season.
We show with all our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” We join with the psalmist in declaring, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1, 2) Each day is a celebration of the grace of God through Jesus Christ, in whom we live and move and have our being. The essence of our attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this poem:
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
What shall we render to the Lord for all
His grace? What can we say to offer praise
Worthy of His glory? How can we call
With all our being upon His name and raise
A new song from the depths of our heart?
We must do more than mouth a platitude–
To express our soul in words is an art;
Yet words cannot express our gratitude.
Our words are empty and without merit.
“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.
So we must worship God with our spirit
And must give thanks well for all of our days.
To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;
With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.
The closing phrase of the poem matches the ending of the Verse of the Day with reminders of “abounding in thanksgiving,” as the lyrics of a song appropriate of this season also come to mind: “Give Thanks with a grateful heart.” Don Moen offers this expression of gratitude to God in song: