As we approach Thanksgiving this year, we all are prompted to remember the things we are thankful for. Families, friends, and food fill our thoughts as we prepare for this glorious day to celebrate and give thanks. The day comes and goes, and we are quickly thrust into the hustle and bustle of Christmas without even thinking twice. Have you ever thought about how crazy it all seems? Just one day a year is dedicated to giving thanks. Just one. More and more, even that one day is getting cut short as we rush off to wait in overnight lines to get the best deals that Black Friday has to offer. I find myself wondering, is this really how it’s supposed to be? Aren’t we missing the point all together?
Do you ever find yourself in your prayers thanking God for “the many blessings” that He has given you? So do I, and it’s a good thing to thank Him for our blessings. I wonder, though if it’s not just a rehearsed phrase anymore, a memorized line that we throw in there out of duty or habit. How would your perspective on life change if you got specific and listed the blessings that you are thankful for? Could you list them? The Lord has been challenging me to a lifestyle of thanksgiving. Being thankful cannot be confined to one day in a year. Thankfulness is a way of life. Thanksgiving is a lifestyle. When the hype of the holiday season fades, and we find ourselves in the middle of a dreary day in late January, do we give thanks even then? When our patience runs thin in the heat of a long, hard summer, do we give thanks even then? When the pressures of life, work, and family weigh heavily upon us, do we give thanks even then?
God’s Word has a lot to say about giving thanks, and a common theme I find in scripture is giving thanks always and in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Ephesians 5:20 follows the challenge for us to live thanksgiving by saying, “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Thank God for everything, all the time, really? Thank Him for the financial hardship? Thank Him for the divorce? Thank Him for the cancer, the lost loved one, the pain? No, not thanking Him FOR it, but rather IN it. In no way am I suggesting that the Lord would require us to say, “God, thank you for giving me cancer. I love it, I’m so thankful for it.” We are to thank Him in it for how He’s going to use it in our lives: for His glory and for our good (Romans 8:28). You see, a life of thanksgiving is not dependent upon circumstances. It is dependent upon God’s Word. Psalm 136 gives us 26 reasons to give thanks, all summed up in one: His steadfast love endures forever. The fact that His love for us endures forever is enough reason to give thanks always and in everything. Let His love be your motivation for a lifestyle of thanksgiving. May thankfulness be far more than one day, but rather may it become a way of life for you. What are you thankful for today? Praise God for it. Tell Him what you’re thankful for. Practice the pursuit of a lifestyle of thanksgiving.