What comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving Day? For many of us, it would probably be turkey. After all, it’s the centerpiece of our traditional celebration. As family and friends gather around the table, we generally offer a sincere prayer of gratitude to God for all His blessings before enjoying the food and fellowship. But what comes after dessert? For some people, it’s a football game. Others start planning for Christmas shopping the next day. Although Thanksgiving Day always ends, our expressions of gratitude to God should continue throughout our daily lives.
Gratitude honors God (Ps. 50:23). When we acknowledge the Lord as the source of all our blessings, we are exalting Him by declaring our dependence upon Him. Who hasn’t breathed a prayer of thanks after narrowly escaping a car accident? Appreciation helps us realize that we cannot make it through life without God’s help.
Thankfulness is expressed in a variety of ways. Sometimes we gather in worship services to fellowship together and sing praises to God. But we can also worship the Lord when we’re alone by letting everyday activities—no matter how simple—become reasons to thank Him. Another way to acknowledge the Lord as our provider and express our gratitude is to give Him the first part of our income.
A spirit of thanksgiving is the result of remembering all God has done for us. The Scripture describes many blessings and privileges that result from our salvation and should invoke gratitude in hearts. Here are just a few reasons we can give thanks to God:
God chose us before the foundation of the world.
We are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
We are eternally secure.
We have been given gifts of the Spirit.
We have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
We have the peace of God in our hearts.
The Lord loves us unconditionally.
We’re never distant from the presence of God.
The Lord provides for our needs.
We have His divine protection each day.
We have the promise of a bodily resurrection.
We have the blessing of God’s atonement through Christ and total forgiveness of our sins.
We have an eternal home in heaven and the promise of the resurrection.
We’ve been given the Word of God, the source of all knowledge and understanding.
How can we cultivate a greater spirit of thanksgiving? We can begin by taking note of simple blessings that God provides each day. Having a car to drive, receiving income from employment, or having a family and a home in which to live are all reasons to be thankful. So often we take these things for granted, but they are all provided for us by our loving heavenly Father—the greatest reason we have to be grateful!
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Thanksgiving Every Day,” which aired this past weekend on TV.