Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For most of us, including me, Thanksgiving is mostly about food and family. Rachael brines the Turkey, we make a stuffing that is otherworldly, gravy…the nectar of joy, red wine or thanksgiving cocktails, and to finish it off chocolate cream pie. Glory! But, unfortunately, there have been many years where I have completely forgotten to give thanks to God for his goodness in my life.
At least 139 times.
That is how many times in the Bible we are commanded, encouraged, or we see thanksgiving modeled for us. Gratitude is indispensable to the Christian life. Gratitude causes us to remember that God is good and working in the brokenness. It shifts our focus to His goodness.
We often focus on what we don’t have and what is going wrong. Just look at our conversations. It is much easier to talk about the negative in our lives, the things that irritate us, the people that we think should do better, the system, the government, or how we got the short end of the stick. The flesh loves negativity and grumbling. Look at social media, news, youtube channels, talk radio, podcasts, etc. Negativity rules the day.
Thanksgiving reorients us to God and His goodness.
Giving thanks causes us to replace coveting with contentment. Giving thanks to God allows us to see the blessings all around us: a sunset, a moonrise, a child's laugh, food and shelter, a church, good food and drink and God’s forgiveness and presence. Even in our darkest hour there are signs of His grace all around us.
Thanksgiving frees us from worry, guilt, shame, and the fruits of the flesh.
Giving thanks is also enjoyable! I always feel much better when I take five minutes to give thanks to God.
Here's your homework:
Take five minutes a day this week to read Psalm 100 and then give thanks out loud for everything God brings to mind. Money back guarantee: you won’t regret it.