There is a time and a season for everything under the sun… even Thankfulness
According to BibleGateway, the word ‘thank,” or variations like thankful and thankfulness, appears in the ESV version of the Bible 162 times. It was important in the Old Testament times, part of the sacrificial system was being thankful. Jesus, in all four gospels, ‘gave thanks’ before the Passover Supper. And Christ will come again and wipe away all sin from the world, and we will give thanks to Him as He is seated on His throne.
Giving thanks is a sacrifice. Giving thanks is for remembrance. Giving thanks is giving God his due. It should be part of who we are throughout each day. Through the good times, and enduring the bad, because as Ecclesiastes 3 promises, there is a time for all things.
During this week, take a moment to reflect on what you have to be thankful for. If you have had a less than stellar year, or you just can’t bring yourself to be thankful, here are a few reminders for your consideration.
Let us be thankful:
For Everything – Ephesians 5:20
“giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Over the past several weeks, our pastor has been teaching on stewardship. We began the series with the reminder that God owns everything. From the highest star to the deepest well, God holds in his hands everything in between. We are just a steward over the things he has allowed us to have. While this may be a difficult concept for some, because of how hard we have worked to attain the things we own. But, when we get down to it, God gives us gifts, talents, and abilities. Without Him we couldn’t do the things we do. So, if you can turn a wrench, plow a field, greet a customer, or cook a meal we can be thankful for those things.
In All Circumstances – I Thessalonians 5:18
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
As we read in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything; good, bad, happy, and sad. Since we are going to face bad times, does this mean we should lose our willingness to be thankful? Not according to Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica. Whether the sun is shining, birds are singing, and everything is hunky-dory, or the storm clouds are rolling in, water is filling up your boat, and all you have is a thimble; we are to be thankful. But how? Well, be thankful that you have that thimble, you could have nothing at all.
The two preceding verses to this one, instruct us to rejoice always AND to pray without stopping. These attitudes are just the beginning of moving into having a continually thankful spirit.
For Who He Is – I Chronicles 16:34
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
If God is God of it all, and He is God even though we must deal with hard times, this is proof that He is good. It is not that He gives us hard times, but He sees us through them. And His help is not there for a given moment; it is forever. He loves every one of us – no matter where we are at in life. So, be thankful that he loves you when you are less than lovely. Rejoice and share his loving nature with others so that they can in turn, be thankful.
With All We Are – Psalm 9:1
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
When we get discouraged, and you will get discouraged, we need to remember those times of joy, those times of blessing, and the past deliverances God has brought to you. Consider this, if you were drowning and someone threw you a life preserver, then you would be extremely grateful to that person. Well, Christ not only saved your life, He saved your soul!! That in itself should bring on a thankfulness that goes beyond words, feelings, or emotions – we should experience whole-hearted gratitude.
With A Joyful Noise – Psalm 95:2
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
How do we express thanksgiving? For one, we experience it during worship time every Sunday Morning. We sing songs to the Lord. You may have heard the term ‘giving a sacrifice of praise.’ This means we are expressing our thankfulness to God in an external manner. The verse says ‘noise.’ If you have ever been a corporate worship setting you may fully understand the meaning of noise. But praise, to God himself, is not about the ability to worship. It is not about singing like an angel; it is about obedience. It is about showing Him how thankful we are for throwing us that life preserver, about loving us eternally, and for all He has done for us.
Because He Is God – Revelation 11:17
“saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
Thankfulness is not only about the past. It is not only about present blessings. It also concerns the future as well. One day you and I will no longer be bound by these earthly chains. No more will we have to experience pain, suffering, heartache, illness, or defeat from the enemy. Because you know what? God wins in the end!!
He was there, in the beginning, to get this whole thing started, and He will be there when the earth’s final chapter comes to pass. So, whatever we are facing now, no matter how disheartening it may be, He will overcome it. For that we can be thankful for. When we are at the bottom of the pit, we can be thankful that one day we will be free of it.
The Final Word
As you slice up the turkey, ham, or other traditional food, remember to be thankful. Look around at the faces that surround your table – or remember the faces that once surrounded you. God is faithful, He loves us, and He will always be there when we call. Whether we have plenty, or in the desperation of need. God knows all things and gives all things. So today, look at and appreciate what you do have. And thank Him for that.