Anyone can make a list of all the things that they are thankful for. We have been doing it every November ever since we could trace our little hands and draw a turkey with it. Thanksgiving is a great day to set aside some time to list all of the things we are thankful for. However, the command of God is….
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
So many people focus on all the things God has given us. Most people want all the gifts and blessings and things that God offers. That is why the modern day watered down gospel can bring in thousands of people by offering heaven, forgiveness, life better than you ever imagined. They offer God’s gifts and His blessings… but that is blasphemy. If people want gifts instead of God, they won’t go to heaven. They will spend eternity separated from God forever.
We come to God NOT for His gifts. We come to God because when we come to God, we get God.
O Soul, if you will have Christ as a Gift, you may have Him tonight! You need not go home, first. You need not wait a moment. But if you will not have Him as a Gift, you will never have Him, for in no other way can Christ ever belong to you and me, except as God’s Gift which we, by His Grace, are led freely to accept! And notice, next, that we ought to express that thankfulness. Our expression of thankfulness for God’s unspeakable Gift would make ourselves all the surer that Christ is ours. – C. H. Spurgeon
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15
How thankful are we on a daily basis for God?
We thank God for his blessings. We thank him for his gifts. But what if we had none of these things? What if we lived in a third world country instead of America? What if we had nothing but the clothes on our backs, just enough food to eat, and a tin shack roof over our heads? Could we still be thankful?
If we took our lives and stripped them down to the basics, and sat in a room with a table and chair and a Bible, would we be able to say, “Thank you, God, for the gift of Yourself”?
See, when we remember who we truly are in front of a holy God– vile, wretched, selfish sinners– we would really be more thankful that a holy, righteous, good God even would think twice about us. And yet, he came to earth, lived 33 years, died a horrible death crushed under the weight of God’s wrath upon the sin of the world, loves us more than we could possibly imagine, and longs to have a personal relationship with us. He has given us an unspeakable gift that would do us good to be thankful for.
God does not need us to be thankful. God gets nothing from our gratitude, but we do.
First of all, we get peace and contentment. Gratitude puts everything in proper perspective. My dad loves to say, “expect nothing, be grateful for everything.” If more people live by that rule, our world would be a whole lot nicer place to live, quite simply.
Secondly, not only do we get peace and contentment, but gratitude cultivates faith. See, life is not always easy, and if we are thankful to God only for His stuff, we will not be thankful “in everything”. The Bible says to be thankful even for the trials God places in our lives because these trials draw us closer to God and make us stronger in our faith. [James 1] God is not interested in your happiness or in you living your best life now. He is interested in you getting closer to Himself every day. He is interested in making you holy like Jesus Christ. Righteousness, faith, love, joy, and peace– these things are found at the foot of the cross, not health, wealth, and prosperity.
In 1 Samuel 17, David was about to fight Goliath…..
And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:33-37
David was faithful in remembering the trials that God had brought him through, and he was able to face Goliath with faith and without fear. God had not kept David from hardship, but He sure had been there every step of the way, and because David was thankful, he remembered the strength and deliverance of the Lord.
We are so blessed. We are far more blessed than we deserve. Just take a look at your life. Think of where you would be were it not for God. Be thankful for all the wonderful things He has given to you that you do not deserve; and not only for the things Has given you, not only for the gifts, but for Himself. It is not what is in our pockets that makes us thankful, but what is in our hearts. Really, if He gave us nothing but Himself, that would be more than enough to be thankful for for eternity.
We as Christians must remember the gift of God: the gift of Himself. Without Him, we could do nothing. With Him, all things are possible. Take some time this week and every week to be overcome with thankfulness for God’s unspeakable gift.
Have a happy and thankful Thanksgiving!