I’ve spent some time over the last few days pondering this holiday we call Thanksgiving. Most of us know why we celebrate and to Whom we are thankful. And I believe that most of us are truly thankful for our many blessings. At least we truly believe we are truly thankful.
I started thinking about how our thanks would feel from God’s perspective. I can only imagine from a parent’s viewpoint how I feel towards my children. Of course, I love it when my kids thank me for something I’ve done for them. Their gratitude makes my heart happy.
But if I later ask them to take out the trash and do the dishes, and they ignore me, my response would be to question their true gratitude towards me. If we are truly thankful, won’t we show our thanks with something more than words?
I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty; I simply want to challenge each of us–myself included–to really search our hearts this Thanksgiving. I believe the Father loves for us to tell Him all the many blessings in our lives for which we are thankful. He loves to hear our voices and our praise. But this year, I want to give Him just a little more. I want to show Him I am thankful.
I read this passage this morning from 1 Chronicles 16. When the ark, which was the very presence of God to the Israelites, was brought back to Jerusalem, David expressed His gratitude to God through praise and celebration. Look at how he encouraged the people to give thanks:
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. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chronicles 16:8-11, NIV).
David was giving thanks simply for God’s presence among them (which we take for granted), yet he is calling on God’s people to not only “give thanks,” but also to call on the Lord (prayer). He tells them to not only sing praise to God and tell of His wonderful acts, but also to find their glory in Him (humility). David encourages the people to not only look to the Lord now, but to seek His face always (daily).
I fear that in so many ways, we have made Thanksgiving just another opportunity to overeat, watch football, and shop. Oh, we will take time to pray before our meal, and maybe even name some things for which we are thankful. But how many of us will show our gratitude to God by completely surrendering our lives to Him and His will? Or by obeying His Word? Or by seeking His face in an intimate, quiet time of devotion?
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before Him all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” (28-32).
I want this holiday to mean more to me and my family this year. We truly have so much to be thankful for, but I want to express my gratitude through more than a prayer and a meal. I want my life to say “The Lord reigns!”
We don’t need a holiday to do that, of course; but wouldn’t it be fabulous if we all decided tomorrow to worship the Lord like never before? To read His Word together as families and seek His face? To decide that we will honor the Lord by bringing our lives and our wills as an offering to Him? To welcome the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God, into our homes and letting Him reign?
I know as a parent, my heart is so full when my children obey me by loving each other, doing what I’ve asked them to do, showing their thanks through how they behave. Shouldn’t we bless our heavenly Father in the same way?
Our God is worthy of all our praise and devotion. Every. Single. Day.
How will you show your gratitude this Thanksgiving?