“Did I do something wrong?” My daughter replied. I had prompted her to say “thanks” for something. Someone had shown kindness to our family by spending quality time with our little ones. After explaining to her that she wasn’t in trouble, she exclaimed: “Oh?! Thank you!” and ran along. She was relieved that she didn’t do anything wrong.
Eventually she will learn the social cues and know when to say “please” “thank you” and “forgive me.” But how does a one learn sincere gratitude? This week we will celebrate “Thanksgiving.” On a holiday that can be overshadowed by black Friday deals, let’s not forget to pause and center our thoughts, prayers and attention on giving thanks to our God.
At Exodus Church we seek to be a worshiping people. For us, that means that we want to respond to God and His gifts appropriately. Gratitude is not only commanded – but it is a natural response of a heart that truly knows and loves God. I want to encourage you – as a worshiper of God, to give thanks to the One who holds our life and breath. (Job 12:10 ESV) Here are a few simple truths to think on this week as we celebrate thanksgiving.
Gratitude for the Christian, begins with understanding who Jesus is.
He is both creator who is great enough to hold the whole universe together with the word of his power and our high priest who walks with us with compassion. Jesus is Lord over all of our human experience, and He is perfect in his authority. (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 4:15-16)
Be grateful – because you deserve death and God offers eternal life.
Because God is just, he will not allow sin to go unpunished. He is a worthy judge, and all of us have offended His Law. The great news is he was willing to provide a way to both be just and be the justifier. He is the judge and our lawyer. In Christ, God has shown us great mercy and we can revere the Lord because of His great mercy. (Romans 6:23)
Be Grateful – for what He has done
The treasure that we have been given that is most valuable and precious is the ability to be made right with God. All other gifts come through this one gift. Because of the atoning death of Jesus and his resurrection we can be reconciled to God. This is really good news – and a great reason for gratitude.
(2 Cor. 5:18-21)
Be Grateful – because it is commanded
There is something to be said for trusting that God, knowing our frame, and knowing who we are and what we need – commands thankfulness throughout scriptures. In our foolishness – we often resist being thankful simply because we don’t “feel” grateful. As we follow in obedience to God’s command, He continues to shape our hearts towards gratitude.
Our hearts follow the lead in responding to our creator redeemer and friend. Let us be a grateful people not only on this week as we celebrate thanksgiving, but with our whole lives. As a people who have been redeemed, we get to be experts in gratitude. Imagine if unbelieving people knew Christians as a peculiar people simply because we are so grateful.
So I’ll leave you with the question I asked my 3 year old last week: “What do you say?”
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
(Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)