OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to Articles||Next|
THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING
Victor M. Eskew
Thanksgiving Day has now come and gone. This holiday, however, is a man-made day. The reality is that thanksgiving should be a part of the Christian’s life every day. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18). When we engage in thanksgiving, powers are unleashed. In this article, let’s talk about “The Power of Thanksgiving.”
First, thanksgiving boldly acknowledges the good that others have brought into our lives. We give thanks because of the blessings we have received from others. Gratitude acknowledges the giver. The giver did not have to be benevolent. He could have withheld his bounty from us, but he did not. He voluntarily gave to our needs. Our gratitude proclaims the giver’s goodness. In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream that none of his wise men could interpret. God gave the interpretation to his faithful servant Daniel. When Daniel received it, he immediately gave thanks to God, saying: “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and has made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter” (Dan. 2:23). Daniel could not have interpreted the dream on his own. God had to provide the interpretation to him. When Daniel gave thanks, He acknowledged the gift that God has bestowed upon him. Yes, in thanksgiving there is the power of acknowledgement.
Second, thanksgiving causes one to display the characteristic of humility. Humility is not a common trait in our world. Pride is the quality most people manifest. When we are blessed by another, however, it is very difficult to be arrogant. When we receive a gift from another, we know that we do not deserve the blessing. A gift makes us ask: “Who am I that I should receive this?” In I Timothy 1:12-15, Paul manifests humility as he thinks about the salvation and the ministry he received from Jesus Christ. He writes: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Paul plainly notes what he was before he received the gifts from Jesus. He understood that he was unworthy, but he was sincerely thankful for what had been given to him.
Third, thanksgiving causes one to have a deep desire to give to others. When one has been blessed by others, he often wants to bless others in return. The receiver of gifts now wants to become a giver of gifts. One of the most precious gifts that a man can receive is forgiveness. God bountifully bestows this upon us almost every day. Micah 7:18-19 affirms this quality of Jehovah. “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” The forgiveness we have received from God should cause us to want to forgive others. In “The Parable to the Unmerciful Servant,” the lord who had forgiven a great debt, asked the unmerciful servant a question pertinent to our study. “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: should not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pit on thee?” (Matt. 18:32-33). Forgiveness calls for the bestowal of forgiveness.
Fourth, thanksgiving can drive one onto his knees to offer prayer unto God. In Luke 17:11-19, ten lepers came near unto Jesus and cried: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). The Lord granted their request and told them to go show themselves to the priests. “…And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:14-16). Gratitude caused this man to bow before the Son of God and give thanks. There have been many of us who have had this same reaction to the blessings we have been given from God. His goodness is rich. His goodness is undeserved. His goodness is free. When we have experienced it, we must take our thanksgiving into His presence. We do as the psalmist exhorted: “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” (Ps. 100:4-5).
We have seen what thanksgiving has the power to do. Thanksgiving causes us to acknowledge the giver of gifts. Thanksgiving causes us to display humility. Thanksgiving causes us to want to become givers ourselves. And, thanksgiving causes us to bow our heads in prayer to the great I AM. Sadly, thanksgiving is rare in our society. For some reason, we live in a world of entitlement. When individuals are blessed, they believe they were entitled to the blessings they have received. Thus, they do not give thanks. Jesus experienced this very thing. Upon seeing the Samaritan at His feet, Jesus answered and said: “Where there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (Luke 17:16-17). Dear readers, let’s always give thanks to God. There is a tremendous power in thanksgiving that will unfold in our lives when we do. Let’s close with some words from the psalmist. “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:17).