What Do We Need To Know To Say Thanks?

Kevin’s lesson for Sunday November 21

Thanksgiving will soon be on us.  By virtue of the season everyone will be thinking of things – big and small – for which to be thankful.  It may be people, circumstances, things, or even food.  It will vary between each of us but hopefully all will be thankful.

Have you ever thought of what it takes be thankful for something?  What is it that causes us to feel this way?  Let me suggest a spiritual dimension to it.  Consider the following verses:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thess. 5:18)

Both of these verses suggest that God is central to the events and things for which we are or can be thankful. In fact, the verses suggest that God is directly responsible for the things for which to be thankful, but also that we cannot truly understand thankfulness without understanding God or his nature.  Consider Psalm 100:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations. (Emphasis added)

David makes a crucial distinction between being thankful for things, and being thankful for the one who gave us things.  David identifies that God, rather than things or circumstances, should receive our thanks.

For our discussion, think about this question:

When you get to Thanksgiving, will you focus on things for which you are thankful or the source of things for which you are thankful?  (The lesson suggests what the answer should be.  But how do you learn to have that primary focus?)

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