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277. Giving Thanks

This issue takes another look at “giving thanks.”

Thanksgiving PAID - Copy - CopyOn this special day, Americans take time to give thanks for a variety of blessings. Even in difficult times, we have a lengthy list of things for which we should be thankful. For those families that are determined to remember and celebrate the real meaning of this special American holiday, a few long-held traditions go a long way. Perhaps the most common tradition is that of having everyone mention something for which he or she is thankful. This is certainly a good thing, but if it ends there, it misses the point. Too often, we forget that for every gift, there is a giver, and without the giver, there would be no gift. It’s impossible to imagine anything for which we are thankful that was not given by someone. What’s the purpose of expressing thanks without acknowledging the giver? Failure to acknowledge the giver puts the emphasis on us and gives the impression that we were owed a debt from some impersonal cosmic force and the debt has finally been paid, bringing us great joy.

Most of us have been guilty of this. We have expressed our thanks for our spouse, our family, or our friends. Where do we think these special gifts came from? Was it just by chance? If it were, what purpose would there be in expressing gratitude for something that resulted from no intent, heartfelt expression, or purpose whatsoever?

It’s not difficult to see where I’m going with this. James 1:17 sums it up nicely:

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

The truth of the matter is that whether we chose to acknowledge Him or not, the one true God, Jehovah, is the source of every good thing in our lives. The least we can do is to direct our thanks to Him. Yes, of course, we can give good gifts to one another, but we have nothing, have purchased nothing, and have produced nothing that did not originate with Him.

While we can certainly celebrate our individual reasons for our thankfulness, the holiday originated from a communal celebration of God’s goodness during the difficult days of our nation’s beginning. Our nation’s founding heroes knew full well that their success depended on the favor of Almighty God. Take time to read the inscriptions on the buildings in our nation’s capital. Read the biographies of our great founders. Listen to the words of four leaders as our nation was taking shape. One thing is clear. America was birthed out of a dependence on God and was sustained by continued thanksgiving for His gifts, not the least of which was the gift of freedom.

If we, as a nation, do not return to a spirit of national thanksgiving to God for His goodness to this nation, in humility, acknowledging our wickedness in telling Him He is no longer welcome here, our demise will be quick and certain. Today, on this day of thanksgiving, let us all give thanks to God that His mercies are new every morning.

Can you thank God for your salvation? Check out HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE HEAVEN BOUND.


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