Thoughts on Thanksgiving


What is your favorite spice?  My all-time favorite spice is salt.  I like pepper, cumin, sage and many other spices, but I love salt.


As we have approached the American food-festival of Thanksgiving, I started to contemplate the true mean of the word.  “Thanksgiving” is used 43 times in the Word of God. After looking at those passages, it became clear to me that thanksgiving should be treated as a precious spice.  Like salt, it is a preservative that should be dashed throughout our life, our day and our walk.


Colossians 2:6-7
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


A believer’s walk in Christ requires the ever-present companion of thanksgiving.  Indeed, our every spiritual breath—Prayer—should be seasoned with the aroma of thanksgiving.


Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God


Colossians 4:2
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;


This theme is repeated throughout scripture.  I believe it is clear that a thankless petitioner has little power in the throne room of God.  The companion of prayer is thanksgiving.


Why is that?


It really isn’t all that strange.  We can begin to see the spiritual power of thanksgiving when we look at a few key verses:


Psa 69:30 

I will praise the name of God with a song,
        And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving has a peculiar ability to change the focus.  A magnifying glass focuses light.  It takes what is illuminated and increases that targeted area by expanding and revealing the true character of the object examined.  Thanksgiving is a similar tool.  It focuses our area of interest away from the distractions on to the object worthy of examination—God Himself.  By giving thanks, we swing the focus away from ourselves, our problems and our wants to the One who should be our real focus.  By doing his, we give glory to God.


2 Cor 4:15
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

We understand that.  We grasp the concept of thanking God.  It is a part of our prayers.  It is a part of our conversations.   It should be a part of everything we do to the Glory of God.  But there is one last point I want to make.  It is critical to understanding thanksgiving.  It is said best in this passage:


Leviticus 22:29
 And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.

God does not merely want manners.   God wants thankful hearts.


I confess that my thanksgiving comes routine, prepared and often mechanical.  I preface my petitions with thanks to gain a hearing.  I often thank the Lord in my conversations, but neglect to offer Him the gratitude of my heart.   God doesn’t want my manners, he wants my heart. 


I have meet many thankless people.  Many people say they have little to be thankful for.  I too have been guilty of thanklessness and self-pity.  I sympathize with their pains and problems, but I disagree with their conclusion.  A thankful heart is not a heart made thankful by circumstances, it is a heart that thanks God despite the circumstances.  Thankfulness is content in all circumstances of life (Phil 4:11)   


This Thanksgiving, let us not honor the Lord with words of thanks only, but with our hearts.  Let our minds rest in His care and reflect back His love and goodness through our thankful hearts.


Psa 107:21-22
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
        And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
        Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
        And declare His works with rejoicing.


 Psa 147:7
 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God,