A THANKFUL HEART
Date: November 26
Category: Godly Character
1 Thessalonians 5:18, Deuteronomy 8:10
"Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]." "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you."
The history of the American Thanksgiving, which by the way, is the oldest American Holiday, dates back to 1620 when the pilgrims settled in America. Their first winter was a devastating one but the harvest of 1621 was bountiful. So the colonists decided to celebrate with the Indians who helped them survive their first year by having a 3-day feast. During a severe drought in 1623, the pilgrims gathered together and prayed for rain. When a long steady rain followed early the next day, they proclaimed another day of Thanksgiving.
In 1789, President George Washington declared a national day of Thanksgiving, but people scoffed at the idea and eventually, it was abolished. But in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Every president after Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving; however, the date was occasionally changed. It wasn't until 1941 that Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by congress as a legal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
In the above biblical passage we read that God commands us to be thankful. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we read, "Thank [God] in everything…" That means that regardless of what circumstances you are in, you should still give God thanks. Some people might wonder, "Why should I thank God for all the bad things in my life?" That's not what this verse is saying. It doesn't say, "Thank God for everything." It says, "Thank [God] in everything…" So we don't give Him thanks for the bad situations in our lives. We give him thanks in those bad situations.
Then it says in verse 18, "for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]." If you are wondering what the will of God is for you, it is found in this verse. God wants you to thank Him in every circumstance and every situation in your life. That's what God wants you to do.
There are many things that we should be thankful for. For example, we read in Deuteronomy 8:10, "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you." In this country, we can work, be industrious, and have enough to eat. So we should be thankful for the land that we live in. We should thank God for the opportunity that we have to work, earn a living, and eat.
There are many other things that we should be thankful for. We should thank God because He's God. Thank Him for our Savior Jesus Christ, our Counselor the Holy Spirit, our salvation through His sacrifice. We should be thankful for the Word of God – the bread of our soul. We should be thankful for our spouse and children, our pastors and leaders, and Christian music and TV programs. There are many things that we should be thankful for.
But one thing that will steal from us our thankful heart is pride. Pride will poison and slay thanksgiving. If we are too proud, we will not be thankful. So don't be too proud to show gratitude towards God and other people when they bless you. Cicero, first century Roman senator and a great philosopher said, "A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues."
The Bible is full of thanksgiving. It says in Psalm 100:4, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!" Psalm 107:1 says, "O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!"
It's clear to see that God wants us to thank Him. It is His will, His desire, and He delights in it. It's so important to live our lives with a heart full of gratitude for God. So let's thank Him today for His many blessings and His goodness towards us!