Thanksgiving is a way for us to express our love towards God. Those who have really received God’s love, they will naturally be able to give thanks.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 NKJ) pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
These are 2 impossible things God is telling us to do. Pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. We need to be conscious of God’s work and love in everything, then we can give thanks in everything. Restoration of thanksgiving will restore everything.
(Psalm 50:22 NKJ) “Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver:
1. To consider
Consider (Hebrew) = bin – means to understand, to perceive, to consider, to comprehend.
God says we forgot about Him, that means we are not mindful of Him every single moment. We saw this word “bin” in Deuteronomy 32:7, the main passage in the History of Redemption Series.
(Deuteronomy 32:7 NKJ) “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:
To consider the years of all generations, we looked at all the years of genealogies and found Jesus. Likewise think deeply and carefully about your life, think about where God was, and what He did. Remember what He has done so you can remember to give thanks.
Is God a main part of your life? God is the God who remembers His covenant even when we forget. That is why God came to Egypt, He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and saved His people. It is because God remembered His covenant that you and I are here today. He remembers our prayers and His promises.
We must remember His works, and His grace in our lives. When we forget that is when grumbling and complaints replace the thanksgiving in our hearts. That grumbling and complaints in my heart, causes me to see things differently, and live a self-centred life rather than a God-centred life.
We act like God has some responsibility and obligation to give me His blessings, if not He is not my God. Privileges become requirements, and worship becomes optional. Suddenly there are more hindrances in my life about going to church. Satan uses them to keep us from God! And an individual is attacked both from external enemies and internal breakdowns.
May we take some time to consider today, consider about what God did. Is my heart where God sits and where thanksgiving abounds? May this holy consideration (bin) bring us back to true thanksgiving.
2. Honour God by offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving
(Psalm 50:23 NKJ) Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
It starts from mindfulness, to action. Sacrifice of thanksgiving means to offer praise. To those who have not felt the grace and blessing of God, this sacrifice might feel like a loss. To those who have really experienced God’s love and blessings, this sacrifice is a gain not a loss.
In Hebrew, “thanks” is todah = offer, give, thanks, confess, praise. That is the very reason why God created mankind. The Greek word for “thanksgiving” in the New Testament = eukaristeo. That word does not frequently appear during the time of Jesus’ life and ministry. It mostly appears when Jesus gave thanks to the Father.
There are very few times when people came to thank Jesus. We will think of 2 significant instances:
- (i) Luke 7:40-50. A young woman comes in to break her alabaster vial of perfume and pours it on Jesus’ head and washes Jesus’ feet with her tears. That was a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Jesus. The Pharisee who invited Jesus did it out of formality for show, but the real thanksgiving given that evening was by this woman.
- (ii) Luke 17:15-19, 10 lepers were healed by Jesus and only one came back to give thanks to Jesus. The word eucharisteos was used here. The others received grace in vain but 1 came back. “Jesus look at me! This is all You! I would have died as a leper, but now I am a new person!” That is giving thanks. Bringing myself back to Jesus is the true offering of thanksgiving.
Let us ask ourselves: Why am I thankful or not thankful? Sometimes we focus on what I have received, what I have now, my possessions, my health, my circumstances, instead of focusing on God. The reason for giving thanks is God’s redemptive work, and realising I am part of it and in it. If not for God, I do not exist! The purpose of God’s History of Redemption was because of you, and for you. So we can have hope in the eternal kingdom of God.
- (i) We cannot give thanks because we are so spoiled, because of one or two things we don’t have, we forget all about the other things God gave us.
- (ii) We cannot give thanks because we are ignorant about what God is doing.
- (iii) We cannot give thanks because we are arrogant and proud.
We start thinking we deserve all these things and not give thanks. Traits of pride and arrogant is complaints and grumblings.
- (iv) We cannot give thanks because we have lost the first love and first heart.
When we first received God’s grace, we had such joy and thanksgiving. But now, do we still have that excitement?
Those with real salvation will be able to thank God in everything because they are the blessing. Those who do not have the assurance of salvation, will have conditional thanksgiving, because they are always seeking for blessings. Jesus died for us to give us the assurance of salvation! We just have to receive it and say: “I am a blessing!” Amen.