I love Thanksgiving as it brings fond memories of family, food, and faith. Thanksgiving is a very American holiday that’s set aside to give thanks to God Almighty for his grace and provision.
The Bible has over 150 references to giving thanks to God found in both the Old and New Testaments. The first reference to thanksgiving is found in Leviticus 7, where the people of God were told to give offerings of thanksgiving. Later, King David wrote a lot about giving thanks to the Lord. He writes how we enter the presence of the Lord with “Praise and Thanksgiving”, we offer thanksgiving to God with prayer and song, and we’re to give thanks to the Lord; “For his steadfast love endures forever.”
In 1 Chronicles 16:8 David said; “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” Because God is good and has blessed his people, we make known his deeds to all. So, what are these deeds the Lord has done?
While most everyone can thank God for his provision and blessings, there is a deed that God did that the Christian will be giving thanks for long after their life is over. That deed is found in the gospel, the good news that God sent Jesus Christ to atone for our sin and whoever trusts in him, has everlasting life. What good news! When sin separates us from the holy eternal God, he in love, gave his only begotten son to take care of our sin. All we do is repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. Jesus in turn will create in us a clean heart and a desire to live in the ways of God.
The last Bible reference to thanksgiving is found in the book of Revelation, where we get a glimpse into the throne room of God where angelic beings and the elders call out perpetual thankfulness to God. Revelation 11:17 says; “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” With thankful hearts the throngs of heaven call out who God is and that in his great power he is redeeming and reigning on the earth.
How does the Christian show their grateful and thankful heart to the Lord? While Thanksgiving is a day set aside for doing just that, the Apostle Paul gives us a great model of how should we respond to the awesome deeds of God.
Colossians 3:15-17 “…Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
It’s with our lives lived for God that we show thanksgiving as we let God’s word speak to us and respond in song with holy lives given as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.