Sir Moses Montefiore, a Hebrew philanthropist, had a motto: “Think and Thank.” He was right to tie the two words together.
The Anglo-Saxon word “thankfulness” comes from “thinkfulness,” so they are related.
An attitude of gratitude should characterize every Christian. Thanksgiving begins in the mind.
Gratitude comes from the heart, internally, but it must manifest itself in outward expression.
Paul reminds us to be thankful in Colossians 3:15, “Be ye thankful.”
I am reminded of a little four-year-old girl (Daily Bread 11/24/99) strolling through a market with her mother. As the little girl stared at the large pile of oranges, a generous vendor took one from the table and gave it to her. “What do you say to the nice man?” the mother asked her daughter. The little girl looked at the orange, then thrust it toward the man and said, “Peel it!” Isn’t that just like us? We tell God, “This is nice, but can I have a little more?”
An attitude of gratitude toward God is a mark of a developing spiritual maturity. In Paul’s letter to the growing Christians in Ephesus, his challenge to follow Christ in Ephesians 5:20 included, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What am I saying? Giving thanks is a proper response to benefits and blessings from God according to Psalm 103:1-2, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” When we receive anything from God, giving thanks is the right response.
In America, Thanksgiving falls in November because of the early colonies who celebrated after harvest time with a feast honoring God. Though the humanists are now in the process of changing history in our public schools regarding the story of the Indians and Pilgrims, the truth of the matter is that they did give thanks unto God. However, in their mind, it is politically incorrect.
Paul had every right to command that all give thanks unto God.
I. THANKSGIVING HAS A SEASON – ALWAYS.
II. THANKSGIVING HAS A SETTING.
A. “In everything.”
B. “For everything.”
There is a difference between the two.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks.”
This verse tells us that we are to give thanks in good times and in bad times, in health or sickness, in prosperity or in poverty, whether we abound or are abased. It says, “in everything.”
We are also supposed to be “giving thanks always for all things” in Ephesians 5:20.
Life has its blessings and tragedies. Experiences come to us that we did not ask for, expect, or understand. These make it very difficult to be thankful.
So, under what circumstances or settings am I to be thankful? For everything and in everything.
III. THANKSGIVING HAS A SECRET.
What is the secret to always being thankful? Look again at Ephesians 5:19-20, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Look at the sequence: speaking, singing, making melody, giving, and submitting. All these are focused around the Father and the Son, and we are honoring Him when we are thankful.
But it is more than that. Thanksgiving is an outflow of the overflow. It is a spiritual exercise made possible by the Holy Spirit from the inside to the outside, “be filled with the spirit.” The answer is to let God be your THANKSGIVING because we know that we cannot do it alone.
The SEASON for thanksgiving will be always, the SETTING for thanksgiving will be in everything, and the SECRET for thanksgiving will be unlocked, honoring God the Father and the Son.
The result of thanksgiving is being filled with the Holy Spirit, with the knowledge of His will, and in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
We have some GREAT REASONS to be thankful:
- For Jesus Christ (Luke 2:27-28)
- For forgiveness of sin (Psalm 103:1-3)
- For deliverance from the power of sin. (Romans 6:14)
- For victory over death and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
- For our inheritance (Colossians 1:12)
- For comfort in tribulation (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- For answers to prayer (John 11:41)
- For wisdom and power (Daniel 2:23)
- For our food (1 Timothy 4:3)
We have many reasons to “GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD.”
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Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.