Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Text: Psa 100:4 (KJV) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Theme: Christians, more than any other people, have reason to be thankful, and should always demonstrate an attitude of thanksgiving toward God.


Introduction:

In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving every year in November.

We feast ourselves into a coma, and enjoy the fellowship of family and friends like we do at few other times during the year.

We think about the subject of thanksgiving, and try to demonstrate, more so on this day than at other times, an attitude of heartfelt thanksgiving.

But... what is thanksgiving? What does it mean? What significance does it have in the daily walk of the believer?

Much in every way. Let's notice some simple thoughts from the Word of God to help us understand the importance of thanksgiving in our daily lives.


I. Thoughts on the Word Thanksgiving.

QUESTION - How do these meanings translate into our usual practice of thanksgiving? (Or do they? How can we apply them better?)
 
A. The Hebrew word
"an extension of the hand, i.e. (by impl.) avowal, or (usually) adoration... confession, (sacrifice of) praise, thanks" (Strongs Concordance # 8426)
B. The Greek word
"gratitude; grateful language (to God, as an act of worship): - thankfulness, (giving of) thanks (-giving)." (Strongs Concordance #2169 - eucharistia)
C. The English word.
"The act of expressing thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors; the act of giving thanks to God; a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor." (New Websters Dictionary)

Comes from same Old English root as "think," and carries within it the root meanings of thought, mind, will. Thankfulness = "thinkfulness".

II. Thoughts on the Reason for Thanksgiving.

QUESTION - Brainstorm some reasons why we, as believers, should offer thanksgiving.
 
A. We should offer thanksgiving because it's commanded.
Psa 50:14 (KJV) Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:

Phil 4:6 (KJV) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

B. We should offer thanksgiving because it is a good thing.
Psa 92:1 (KJV) A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
C. We should offer thanksgiving because that's what is done in heaven.
Rev 4:9 (KJV) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

Rev 7:11-12 (KJV) And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev 11:16-17 (KJV) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

D. We should offer thanksgiving because Jesus is our example.
Mat 11:25 (KJV) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Mat 26:27 (KJV) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

John 6:11 (KJV) And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

John 11:41 (KJV) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

III. Thoughts on the Practice of Thanksgiving.

QUESTION - (List answers on white board) Let's list as many answers to the following question as we can: How, when, and for what should we offer thanksgiving?
 
A. Thanksgiving should be offered to God.
Psa 50:14 (KJV) Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
B. Thanksgiving should be offered to Jesus Christ.
1 Tim 1:12 (KJV) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
C. Thanksgiving should be an act of private worship.
Dan 6:10 (KJV) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
D. Thanksgiving should be an act of public worship.
Psa 35:18 (KJV) I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
E. Thanksgiving should be given in everything.
1 Th 5:18 (KJV) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
F. Thanksgiving should be given upon the completion of great undertakings.
Neh 12:31 (KJV) Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate:

Neh 12:40 (KJV) So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me:

G. Thanksgiving should be given before taking food.
John 6:11 (KJV) And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

Acts 27:35 (KJV) And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

H. Thanksgiving should be given always.
Eph 1:16 (KJV) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Eph 5:20 (KJV) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

1 Th 1:2 (KJV) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

I. Thanksgiving should be given for the gift of Christ.
2 Cor 9:15 (KJV) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
J. Thanksgiving should be given for the deliverance through Christ from indwelling sin.
Rom 7:23-25 (KJV) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
K. Thanksgiving should be given for victory over death and the grave.
1 Cor 15:57 (KJV) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
L. Thanksgiving should be given for wisdom and might.
Dan 2:23 (KJV) I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.
M. Thanksgiving should be given for the triumph of the gospel.
22 Cor 2:14 (KJV) Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
N. Thanksgiving should be given for the conversion of others.
Rom 6:17 (KJV) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
O. Thanksgiving should be given for faith exhibited by others.
Rom 1:8 (KJV) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

2 Th 1:3 (KJV) We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

P. Thanksgiving should be given for the grace bestowed on others.
1 Cor 1:4 (KJV) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
Q. Thanksgiving should be given for the zeal exhibited by others.
2 Cor 8:16 (KJV) But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
R. Thanksgiving should be given for the nearness of God's presence.
Psa 75:1 (KJV) Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
S. Thanksgiving should be given for appointment to the ministry.
1 Tim 1:12 (KJV) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

Conclusion:

Obviously, Christians, more than any other people, have reason to be thankful, and should always demonstrate an attitude of thanksgiving toward God.

May God help us to not just offer thanksgiving to Him on one day in November, but as a way of life.

May God help us to "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise"

May God help us to "be thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Psalm 100:4)

Always.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.