Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136
There is – a directive, an order, a commandment, to give thanks to God. November offers us an official holiday to do just that. On Thanksgiving Day we are invited to pause, consider our blessings, and give thanks to God.
And yet – the Bible reminds us that one day each year is simply not enough. We need to give thanks and offer our gratitude to God every day.
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. Psalm 100
Scripture doesn’t offer the instruction to “give thanks” lightly. Developing an awareness of gratitude is not casually mentioned. We are given this directive multiple times. I remember the wise words that one of my Bible professors taught in seminary – if a command is in the Bible once, we certainly need to pay attention. If this command is in the Bible more than once, we really need to sit up and take notice.
So consider this. The words
- Rejoice in the Lord
- Give thanks to God
- Praise the Lord
appear in the Bible over 300 times.
This is something important.
This is something we need to do.
We need to be intentional about giving thanks to God. Not just being grateful for possessing a lot of things or even for having a family or friends who love us. We need to give thanks for the faithfulness and the presence of God who is with us in all circumstances – even (and maybe especially) when those circumstances are difficult or challenging. We need to cultivate an awareness that even when everything seems to be falling apart, God is still there.
This month, let’s practice the art of giving thanks. I am inviting you to a “Thanksgivingfest.” The purpose will be to intentionally give thanks to God every single day during November. I would encourage you to make a list that you can add to every day. How and where you make your list is up to you – you can type your list on your computer or tack a piece of paper up on the refrigerator or make notes on your phone. The important thing is to take on the discipline of giving thanks every single day. Morning or evening, it doesn’t matter – just set a few moments aside each day to consider the question, “What am I thankful for today?”
You are invited to be on this journey with me as we practice the discipline of daily giving thanks. Feel free to record your blessings there, as well – wouldn’t it be wonderful to fill cyberspace with words of praise, gratitude and thanksgiving!
Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95