What does it really mean?
Is it more than making a list as you sit down for the Thanksgiving meal?
Yes, it is much more.
But, to understand giving thanks, I must first understand what it is to give - really give.
When we give something to someone, we offer it to them. We want them to have it. We extend part of ourselves to another - offering something to them. It was first mine, to do with as I please, but when I give something to someone, I offer what was once mine to them to do with as they please.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Give thanks
In the midst of every single situation I face, there must be something in it that I can offer thanks for, if there were not, He would not have written these words. He will not ask me to do something that is impossible for me to do. I may not like my situation or anything about it, but if I approach my struggles with a heart that expects something to offer thanks for, my eyes will see so much more, and even when I don't, I can offer thanks by just trusting that God is a god of His word and I can trust that whatever I face, He will use it to make me more like His son.
History has shown me that once I come through a trial, I realize how God refined me in it, but to live out what this scripture tells me, I shouldn't wait until I get to the other side. This is where my heart doesn't reflect what I read. There is something in the midst to give Him thanks for.
Often my heart offers Him nothing at all. Then other times all I offer Him is complaining. What's He going to do with complaining after I offer it to Him? I don't think He will find it very useful. Is my heart willing to offer Him something different?
As I've studied thanksgiving over the past few days, I think giving thanks is going to be easier now because I've found a "why". Why give thanks in the middle of pain? Because 2 Thessalonians 5 says to? Yes, but why does it tell me too? Let me share with you the "why" I discovered in Psalms 95, just in case you struggle with having a thankful heart like I do.
O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
The phrase "shout joyfully" has a very understandable, everyday meaning. You're gonna love this - shout joyfully is an ear splitting sound and was often used to declare battle on an enemy. You've heard ear splitting sounds before and you'll do whatever it takes to get away from an ear splitting sound or make it stop.
Do you see?
There is great power in thanksgiving.
That is why we are to give thanks in everything.
We can split the ears of the enemy by shouting joyfully to God. Just worship and adore Him in the middle of it all. The enemy doesn't want to hear that sound. He hates it. I wage war on the evil one when I shout praise to God.
All I needed was a reason.
So, again I ask - Is thanksgiving more than making a list as you sit down for the Thanksgiving meal?
Yes. Thanksgiving is a weapon.
No matter where you find yourself this week, you have a great weapon at your disposal - Thanksgiving.
And I will use my weapon even now and offer thanks to God
- For a family that never complains when I sit down to write here
- For His presence and the gift that it is
- For all of you who meet me here at Beyond Sunday Mornings. I am honored that you use your time to read what flows from my heart to the keyboard to your inbox.
- For His word that never fails to speak.
- For His love that never stops reaching me.
- For the gift and power in prayer.
- For people who slowed down to minister to me and point me toward the Father over the years.