Happy and a blessed Thanksgiving Day to you. Like many of you, I am looking forward to some good eating and a time of fellowship with family members. Of course, for the people of God, thanksgiving is so much more than that. More than a holiday, more than turkey and dressing and all the fixings, thanksgiving for us should be a way of life.
One verse in the Bible that really brings this point home is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: ďIn everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.ď First of all, this verse tells us we should give thanks to God, no matter what our situation is. Let me guess--for some of you, the past 12 months have not been a good year for you. This I say because of the economic turndown our economy saw this past year. Christians are not immune to feeling the effects of a sluggish economy. I also know that itís easier to express thanksgiving to God when times are good than it is to do so during tough times.
But in the aforementioned verse, God calls us to go against the grain. That is, even in disappointing times, we should give thanks. Clearly, His will is for thanksgiving to be a way of life for us.
But some of you might say, give thanks for what? I believe that no matter what situation you are in, you can find many reasons to offer thanksgiving to God, though it may be difficult at this time. One thing to bear in mind is that life is so much more than money and things. I realize these are essential. But sometimes, when we look at Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, and the superstars in Hollywood, or even our neighbors or relatives, and then compare their wealth and lifestyles to ours, we tend to belittle what God has done for us. Again, life is more than things, though the world would have us to believe otherwise.
As for me, I thank God first of all for my relationship with Him. Nothing else is more valuable to me. I thank Him for health and strength, and for my wife and six children, whom I love dearly. I am thankful for the opportunity that He has given me to share the good news of the gospel with people around the world and to help them grow spiritually. I am thankful for the opportunity to even post this blog message. I could go on and on, and not even mention money and material things.
Referring to the Scripture quoted above, please note why the Bible says we should always give thanks. It is because ďthis is the will of God.Ē If itís one thing Iíve learned about God, it is that when we do His will, He blesses us. So I say to you that if during this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, times are difficult for you, please know that Godís will for you is to give Him thanks even now. And because you are doing His will, in due season, my prayer is that He will send you a blessing with your name on it. Praise Him.