Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! A day dedicated to giving thanks… and eating WAY too much. Every dinner table will have its own traditions, decorations, characters, and portion sizes. But I would venture to say most of us actively celebrating Thanksgiving in any “thankful” fashion will have at least a brief moment of… giving thanks. Some of us will have that moment at the dinner table where each member of the family has to say something he or she is thankful for, and in a lot of cases, we’ll hear the warm-fuzzy comments about family, friends, country, and of course the food on the table. At my Grandmas house it will look like a bunch of hoodlums lingering around the spread of food only to be told to stand in a circle, hold hands, and share what we are thankful for before praying to bless the food.
But as a Believer I wonder where true thanksgiving comes from. Not just the holiday… but the idea of being thankful. Where does that wellspring of thanks find its source? The kind of sincere, heartfelt thanks-giving that I think deep down most of us wish we felt all the time.
Psalm 100 is a Psalm written with the sole purpose of giving thanks, and in it the psalmist gives us several things for which we can be truly thankful. Near the end he writes, “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Did you catch that? For us this means that we can give thanks because the LORD is good and His love endures forever, and because He is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow… His faithfulness continues through all generations!
We’ve all heard the overused question or sermon point, “What if you woke up with tomorrow what you thanked the Lord for today?” Sure… it’s a good thought and a good reminder to be ever thankful and to express that gratitude in worship, praise, and obedience to the Lord, but I am thankful because that is not the case! We serve and love a God who blesses beyond measure and without reason! Our lack of acknowledgement doesn’t tie His hands or hold Him back! I am truly thankful because “the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Notice verse 3, “Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” Christian… God has made you His own! Bought you with a hefty price! We see throughout the Old Testament the narrative of God making the Israelites His own special, chosen people, but we too can read this Psalm and mean every word of it! Newflash… if you have been saved and are a Christian, this Psalm is for you! You are one of God’s own, special and chosen people. This is cause for giving thanks because it means God has made a covenant with you, and I, as well. Our source of thanksgiving comes in the sealing of that covenant, which Jesus Christ did on the cross. Erasing our sins. Giving us access to God. Guaranteeing for us a future that will not end. I am thankful because, “It is he who made us; and we are his.”
I am His. I belong to Him.
For many, these round table one liner “thanks” are the extent of their Thanksgiving. A one-time, get-it-out-of-the-way holiday that reminds them to reflect on how blessed they are. Too often and too quickly, people resort back to being ingrates. But God wills us to be thankful all the time, in all things. That’s the point of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where Paul says,
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
So if you’re saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering, you have one thing left to do in order to follow God’s will… be giving and expressing thanks.
If you have trouble coming up with things to be thankful for tomorrow at the dinner table, think for a few moments on what the Lord has done for you in the Gospel. It’s at the foot of the cross, at the entrance to the empty tomb where we will find a never-ending fountain of thanksgiving.