Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is a food-filled celebration associated with expressing gratitude to God for the harvest of His bounty. Praise, thankfulness, and gratitude should be a regular part of our everyday life as Christians. Think about it — we have so much! But unfortunately our affluent society has dulled our sensitivity to God’s grace and gracious provision. Let’s look at Jesus’ examples of offering up prayers of thanks to His Father for an entirely different kind of provision.
In Matthew 4:12-13 Jesus and his teaching were rejected by the people. He performed many wondrous miracles in the area and spoken of God’s love. Wouldn’t you think the people would enthusiastically embrace Him as Messiah? Yet they showed complete indifference to Him.
Rather than being downcast, Jesus offered up thanks to His Father: “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Matthew 11:25-26).
Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus continued to offer up prayers of thanks and gratitude to the Father for all He had accomplished for and with Him, His Son. In His prayer in John 17, just prior to His betrayal, Jesus…
… thanked the Father for the power and the opportunity to secure eternal life for all believers (John 17:2).
… thanked the Father for giving Him the disciples (verses 6-7).
… thanked the Father that believers had heard and obeyed the Father’s Word, which Christ had spoken (verse 8).
Then, with a heart of thankfulness, Jesus turned His focus on the cross and His death. How could Jesus be thankful? And what was the reason for this grateful attitude? He knew the Father was in absolute control. He knew everything was going according to God’s divine plan.
Has something happened in your life that doesn’t make sense? Are you facing a Thanksgiving Day that is not full of celebration? Has this been a tough year for you and your family? Maybe you couldn’t understand how a loving God could let something like that happen to you or a loved one. Well, you are not alone. Most people have events happen that are difficult or impossible to understand. Rather than question the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, with your whys, take a page out of Jesus’ life and be thankful. As the Bible says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Is yours a heart filled with thanksgiving? Is there any reason you don’t exhibit more of Jesus’ thankful attitude? For instance…
Maybe you don’t know Jesus and are facing an unknown future without confidence. Ask God to grant you His grace to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and give you the gift of eternal life. Then you too can be abundantly thankful (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Maybe you are a Christian who’s forgotten how hopeless your life was before you knew and belonged to Jesus. There is no greater gift than the gift of salvation. And, as with any gift, you should say, “Thank you” — constantly! Pause for a moment and thank God for His indescribable gift in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9:15). Then purpose in your heart to respond with gratitude, praise, and joy to God for Jesus and the treasure of His salvation.
A Prayer to Pray
And now, O Lord, I bow before You with a heart of gratitude. In the words of King David, I marvel “Who am I, O Lord God” that You have blessed me so abundantly? For Your salvation, for the forgiveness of my sins, for my family and church, I offer You inadequate but sincere praise and thanksgiving. Thank You, dear Lord!
For more about God’s wonderful character read, A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus.