Thanksgiving is appreciating GOD for His blessings.
HYMN: PRAISE MY SOUL, THE KING OF HEAVEN
TEXT: Genesis 4:2-7;
Psalm 92:1-3; Luke 17:12-19
It is good to give thanks unto the Lord. An act of thanksgiving from a recipient of a favor naturally gladdens the heart of the one who had demonstrated the act of kindness or favor. It is really good and pleasing to give thanks unto the Lord, but our insatiable and greedy nature hardly allows us see reasons to give thanks to God. Sometimes, we allow a seemingly unanswered prayer or unrealized ambition to becloud our brow. When we realize that we exist by the grace of God, we will then understand that giving thanks to God is a necessity. We do not favor to God when we give Him thanks. He does not need us to exist; but without Him, we cannot exist. It behooves us therefore, to give Him thanks always for our existence. Apart from this, there are innumerable reasons why we need to give God thanks; for example, the salvation of our soul, which also is a free gift from God. The Scripture clearly made us to understand that everything that pertains to life and godliness have been given to us by God, 2 Peter 1:3. That we are yet to access those things, should not be a reason why we should hesitate to give thanks to God for His goodness. To refuse to give thanks to God is not only a sign of ingratitude by an act of wickedness. In this study, we shall be discussing what thanksgiving is and its relevance in our Christian life.
The objectives of this study are:
1. To understand what thanksgiving is.
2. To know why it is necessary to give thanks.
3. To know the features that make thanksgiving acceptable.
4. To know the way thanksgiving should be expressed.
Q1. WHAT IS THANKSGIVING?
Thanksgiving is an expression of a good feeling for help or favor received; a grateful thought expressed orally or by action in relation to an occurrence; showing gratitude for mercy or benefit enjoyed. It is also an expression of appreciation for an existing condition or privilege being enjoyed by someone. Thanksgiving acts as an intuition to make people repeat or extend the scope of acts of kindness they have done. It is a product of a merry heart. Absence of thanksgiving can dampen the enthusiasm to show or continue to show kindness. It testifies of the goodness of the person to whom it is directed. Thanksgiving acts as a lubricant to the wheel of good relationship with God.
Q2. WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO GIVE THANKS?
Thanksgiving is necessary because it is God’s expectation from us, 1 Thessalonians 5:18. If we consider it necessary to show appreciation for a kind gesture, to give thanks becomes imperative. It is the will of God that we should give thanks always, and our obedience to the will of God increases our chances of obtaining His promises, Hebrews 10:36. Thanksgiving sometimes gives us opportunity to grow in understanding the role of our faith in receiving blessings from God, Luke 17:16.
Q3. WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF AN ACCEPTABLE THANKSGIVING?
For a thanksgiving to be acceptable to God, it must conform to the standard of the Scripture; it must come from a grateful and willing heart, devoid of any form of grudge or hypocrisy and pretense. It should not be out of necessity. The decision to give thanks and how much or with what substance, should be out of personal conviction and must not be with reluctance or the response to pressure. The thanksgiving that comes in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit is more likely to be acceptable unto God, for the Spirit knows the mind of God. The substance of thanksgiving must be pure and of good quality to reflect the goodness and perfect acts of God. The quality of the materials of our thanksgiving matters to God, Malachi 1:7-8. The thanksgiving that demonstrates our love for God will surely be acceptable to Him.
Q4. HOW SHOULD WE EXPRESS OUR THANKS TO GOD?
The first expression of our thanksgiving to God should be a presentation of our bodies as a living sacrifice unto Him, Romans 12:1. We should also express our thanksgiving with our lips in worship, praises and testimonies. Christians should form the habit of confessing the goodness of God in praises of thanksgiving, Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 100:4. Musical instruments of all kinds should be used in our praises of thanksgiving to God, Psalm 150:3-5. We are also required to present our substance in thanksgiving to God, Genesis 4:3-4, 8:20-22. Thanksgiving can be expressed privately in our closet and in public worship, Daniel 6:10; Psalm 35:18.
Q5. DISCUSS SOME BENEFITS OF THANKSGIVING?
Thanksgiving makes one acceptable to God, Genesis 4:6-7. It brings restoration, just as authority lost by man was restored to Noah in Genesis 9:1-3. It makes room for additional blessings as in 2 Chronicles 1:6-7 in the case of Solomon. Thanksgiving enhances answered prayers by God, Psalm 50:14-15. We are made whole by our thanksgiving as in the case of the one leper that returned to thank the Lord. That means we will have additional blessings when we come before God with thanksgiving. When we give thanks to God, our account in heaven grows, Philippians 4:17. Joy and peace are also assured when we give thanks.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Christians generally give thanks to God for favorable occurrences or for remarkable blessings received. A few give thanks for what they have not received; it is very rare to see someone giving thanks to God for what is considered bad in the eyes of society. Truly, we come to church to give thanks to God after a fatal accident survived or for surviving an armed robbery attack.
Can we sincerely give thanks to God for our unrecovered stolen car, or for our failed business? When evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that He will accomplish through the distress. Can we thank God that we failed a promotion examination, or degree examinations? The Scripture enjoins us to give thanks to God in everything because it is the will of God concerning us in Christ Jesus, 1 Thessalonians 5:18. This conforms to Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”. We disarm the devil when we, in obedience to the Word of God, sincerely give thanks to God for a seemingly unfavorable situation. May God give us the grace to ‘count it all joy when we encounter different kinds of challenges in our Christian faith, and learn to give Him thanks for them all.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.”
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
Mon: Give thanks always.
Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6
Tue: Worthy thanksgiving.
Genesis 4:34, 8:20-22
Wed: Why thanksgiving?
Psalm 121:17, 118:1
Thu: Thanksgiving is unconditional.
Fri: Benefits of thanksgiving.
2 Chron 7:4-5, 11-16, 1:6-12
Sat: God is worthy of thanksgiving.
Psalm 136:1, 4-26