When I was a young boy, anytime my siblings and I received gifts, either on our birthdays or at the holidays, my mother made sure that we recorded each gift and from whom we received it. Then within a short time period, we were responsible to send a note of appreciation and thanks to the relatives or friends who had provided the gifts. We were to specify how the gifts would be utilized and their benefit to our lives.
My mother explained to us the effort and expense that people went to in order to bless us and that it was only appropriate that we should take notice and express our appreciation in word and action. She encouraged us to have an “attitude of gratitude” and to focus on and be thankful for the blessings that we had received. This formative teaching enriched my life and opened doors of opportunity as I grew older.
As I became involved with growing in God’s Word through this ministry, I saw even more how thankfulness and gratitude are vital in the walk of a disciple. Much more than just being “proper protocol,” thankfulness has a direct impact on the quality of life that we live. God’s Word has much to say on this topic. By looking at to whom we are to give thanks, what we have been given for which we can be thankful, and some benefits of thankfulness, we can better develop a consistent attitude of gratitude and profit thereby.
While there may be many individuals or groups to whom we rightly owe thanks and gratitude, first and foremost our thankfulness along with our praise and glory is always to God. We want to constantly remember that He is the Source of our blessings. James 1:17 states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights….” Psalms 68:19 informs us, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits….” In Philippians 4:19 we read that it is God Who shall “supply all your need,” while Psalms 103:2 instructs us to “forget not all his benefits.”
Everything good that we have originates ultimately with God. A key to not forgetting all His benefits, to remembering His blessings, is to give thanks for them, to acknowledge Him as the Source from which all blessings flow.
One of the great individuals in the Scripture is David, the youth who went from tending sheep to ruling over God’s people as king of Israel. He even became a part of the Christ line. David faced numerous challenging situations throughout his life as a ruler, as a husband, and as a parent, yet his life-style was one of thanks and praise to God. This key component of his life helped him become a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). The following are just a few of the things that the psalmists, including David, recorded by revelation regarding thankfulness.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalms 100:4 and 5:
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
The psalmists certainly had an attitude of gratitude. An attitude is simply the way we think, our opinion or viewpoint. It is a settled mode of thinking that we can deliberately determine. We tell our minds what and how to think, and then we do what is necessary to establish that thought pattern as a habitual course of action.
Jesus Christ, our great example, gave thanks to God, his Father. Whether it was feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish (Matthew 15:36-38) or teaching his disciples during his last supper with them, he gave thanks to God.
Luke 22:17 and 19:
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Like Jesus Christ, we are to recognize God as the Supplier of all that is good, as the One Who has met our every need and delivered us out of the power of darkness. Our thanks are due Him.
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.
When do we give thanks to God? His benefits are unto us daily, so logically we should render our thanks to Him daily. In his personal prayer life, one psalmist even gave thanks in the middle of the night (Psalms 119:62)….
This is an excerpt from the September/October 2005 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2005 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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