Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

Here we are [again] at that time of year when all of the talk shows, news services, and pop-culture ‘icons’ want to turn everyone’s attention toward ‘being thankful’. However, most of them don’t even understand or acknowledge that to be ‘thankful’ requires that you direct your gratitude toward someone for something.
Yes, it’s true that in relation to the rest of the world throughout the rest of history, we have more of everything for which to be thankful. We have ‘more’ and ‘better’ of just about everything imaginable.
Is that why we should be ‘thankful’? Should we be ‘thankful’ because we have it so much better than someone (anyone) else?
Well – ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Certainly we should praise God and thank Him for the many blessings He pours out on us each and every day. But, it can be very difficult to have an attitude of ‘thanksgiving’ when we look at an abundant dinner table with an empty chair where a loved one once sat. And when circumstances reveal a problem within a family that turkey and dressing won’t fix, do we really feel ‘thankful’ that we have it better than someone on the other side of the world?
Unfortunately, we usually let our circumstances determine how ‘thankful’ we feel and how we express that gratitude to God. But there is a message that is set forth almost word-for-word at least 10 times in the Bible that tells us why we should be thankful, and it has nothing to do with our circumstances:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”*
He never changes; He never fails.
He is ALWAYS good.
His love endures FOREVER.
When the economy tanks and your job is lost – God and His love haven’t changed: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
When a relationship is strained to the point where it appears that nothing could possibly reconcile it – God hasn’t gone anywhere: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
When illness comes, age takes its toll, circumstances seem bleak, friends turn away, savings are gone, or families have split – He cares more than you can possibly know: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
While we may not feel ‘thankful’ about our circumstances or about a particular trial we are enduring, God is STILL good; His love STILL endures forever.
He is SO worthy of our praise, worship, and thanksgiving!
We should never let our circumstances keep us from expressing our thanks; we should never let our attitude detract from our gratitude; we should never fail to do what we were created to do.
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!"
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
Then the trees of the forest will sing,
they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever
. (1 Chronicles 16:30-34)

(*) See 1 Chronicles 16:34, 2 Chronicles 5:13, 2 Chronicles 7:3, Ezra 3:11, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29, Psalm 136:1, Jeremiah 33:11.

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