Thank the Lord!
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening” – Psalm 92:1-2
How many times during the day do we take time to thank the Lord? I don’t mean simply out of tradition over our meals – but genuine gratitude from our heart. If it isn’t even a daily occurrence, I don’t mean this rudely, but who do you think is giving you breath right now? What about that house you’re in, that car you drive to your job, the spouse or kids or both you’ve been entrusted with? Even if you didn’t have any of those – most people would say self-pity is okay then. Can you still think? Can you still move? If you’re not six feet under, you’ve got many things to be thankful about. I’m not trying to offend, I’m trying to help. Hang with for a bit longer, we’ll get into why thankfulness is important.
First of all, it’s part of God’s will. Sounds weird, right? But we’ll see why it’s a part of His will later on. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. It’s also in a list containing serious statements like “do not quench the [Holy] Spirit”, “do not despise prophecies”, and “abstain from every form of evil”. Going with the pattern, giving thanks is pretty serious business.
Second, thankfulness is a key ingredient in our prayers. In Philippians 4:6, Paul wrote, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” [emphasis mine]. So when we pray for something, we should first thank God for what we do have and focus on that. This verse comes from someone who was beat with rods three times, stoned (attempted public execution by people throwing rocks at him, not what it means now), shipwrecked three times, given the infamous thirty-nine lashes (by a whip with barbs / spikes in the ends) five times, imprisoned many times, spent a whole night and day adrift at sea, was bit by a deadly snake, gone without food many times, and didn’t have enough clothing to keep warm. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) If he can thank God, and tells us to do so in our prayers, maybe we should follow his example.
Third, thankfulness puts us into the proper perspective. David wrote over 70 of the Psalms in our Bible, and many of them focus on thankfulness. Like Paul of the New Testament, David went through many trials. He was hunted down like a criminal for years by King Saul, even though David was anointed (selected & set apart) as the King. He committed several serious sins which bore direct and painful consequences. Yet through all of this, he remained thankful. It doesn’t mean he didn’t cry out to God, he certainly did as we can see in many of the Psalms. But he still remained thankful, and I believe that is one key to his survival during such stressful circumstances. He realized that God was good and would deliver him in the end – being thankful kept these realities in his mind.
Fourth, thankfulness humbles us before God and opens our life to His blessings. Psalms 100:4 tells us, “enter His [God’s] gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless His name!”. Giving thanks to God helps us to see who He is, and as such, we see how much we need Him. Giving thanks also brings us closer to God’s presence, which, if you can’t figure it out, is very good. Psalm 138:6 tells us that God cares for the humble, but keeps His distance from the proud. Do you want God’s care in your life? Giving Him thanks will humble you before Him, which opens your life up to more of God’s blessings.
Give thanks for everything you can list off in your life. It will draw you closer to God, keep you focused, and so many other things – it certainly can’t hurt you. Make it a habit, starting today – right now even!
The BOTTOM LINE: thank God everyday for everything, even when you don’t feel like it. It will change your life.