by Greg Quinn
November 23, 2021
We are coming upon another Thanksgiving season in America. We think back to the Pilgrims in that first Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for getting them through the hardships and struggles. But Thanksgiving is more than a history lesson. Thanksgiving is something we should celebrate daily, by giving thanks to the Almighty God for his mercy, protection, safety, and provision.
Our main scripture for today is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, which says:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We should note that it doesn't say "in some things", "in good things", "when I feel like it", "when everything is going my way"; it says "in every thing give thanks". We should be thankful to God for ALL things. Yes that means good and bad. It is easy to give thanks (but do we make a habit of doing so) in the good things, but does this mean we are to be thankful even in bad times? Yes it does. Because don't the bad times make you appreciate the good times even more? Doesn't the things that go wrong make you more careful toward the things that go right? Does not God strengthen you through the trials where you can be more profitable in your life? So, we should be thankful in ALL THINGS.
In the book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS, author Ann Voskamp talked about making a daily list of all the blessings, all the things to be thankful for. Good or bad. Whether death of a child and cancer and sickness, good times and bad, little things and big things, we can still know God is with us and count each situation, each circumstance, as a gift. I consider this a "must read"; it would make a great Christmas gift to your loved ones.
The second part of 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says (emphasis mine):
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning
We Christians want to serve God. We want to find the will of God in our lives. We want to live our lives as Jesus desires. The second part of this passage tells you what the will of God in your lives is, and that is "in every thing give thanks". You think that if we were more thankful that we would live better lives, less stress, more joy, more peace? I think so.
There are many references in the Scriptures about giving thanks, about being thankful. Here are but a few.
1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 26:7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
Psalm 100:4-5 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
What if today you purposed to take notice of everything around you, searching for something to be thankful for? What if today you noticed the beauty of the changing of the leaves, and gave thanks to God for them, as He made the trees. What if today you reflected upon the good times of your childhood, when you ran and played and laughed and didn't seem to have a worry in the world; you enjoyed each day. And in the heart of the child that was in you, weren't you thankful? Today can you feel the cool of the morning air, take a walk in the rain, feel the warmth of a fire, breathe deep, and be thankful? Today can you look at your wife or husband differently, at your children differently, at your parents differently, and give thanks? What if today you made a list of everything you experienced in today, and gave God the thanks for it? You think your life would be different? I do.
But thankfulness is only part of the solution. We can be thankful for what God has done for us, and we should, but if we do nothing more than be thankful, we are selfish and only concern ourselves with ourselves.
The second part of THANKSGIVING is "giving". THANKS-GIVING.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Jesus spoke of giving. Giving what you have. Being thankful and sharing. And as indicated above, He promised that you would be rewarded for it.
This brings us back to what Jesus considered the greatest commandments. When you think about that time when the Jews had over 600 commandments to obey, beyond the original 10, you will appreciate the significance in Jesus' answer.
Matthew 22:36-40 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
If we truly put God first, if we truly love the Lord our God with all we have in us, heart, soul, and mind, and then we love our neighbors (other people) as much as we love ourselves, don't you think we would be very thankful and very giving?
THANKS-GIVING. Being thankful for everything. The fact that you can read this. That you live in a free country where you can own and use a gun. Thankful for our Constitution. Thankful for our police officers. Thankful for the fire fighters. Thankful for our military. Thankful for your family. Thankful for the little things in life, the ordinary, the every day things we take for granted. Thankful that you woke up today. Thankful that you have breath and life. Thankful for your children (even when they misbehave). Thankful for your spouse. Thankful that God saw fit to put you into the family that He did. Thankful for a morning rain, fog on the hills, sunshine on your face. Thankful for the colored leaves of the season. Thankful for the Pilgrims who conquered the new world that we today call America. Thankful for your childhood dreams. Thankful for the walk in the woods on the way to your tree stand, taking note of all the beauty God gave you that day. Thankful for the little squirrel playing in the leaves making too much noise that you fear he'll run off the big buck. Thankful for eyes to see, ears to hear, mouth to speak, mind to conceive, legs to walk, arms to hold. Thankful for the little and the big. Thankful for the good things in your life. And even thankful for the bad things as these make you appreciate more the good things, and in the bad times in our lives we are strengthened and brought closer to God our Creator.
THANKS-GIVING. Being generous. Sharing what God has given us. Going beyond thankfulness to sharing what we are thankful for. Give. Give a smile to someone today that seems sad. Give a few dollars to the homeless man at the street corner, while being thankful you have a home. If you have 2 coats, give one to someone who has none. Give through your church. Find organizations that you can give to financially to help others, or if you don't have money to give, share your time. Give encouragement. Offer to help your wife cook dinner. Give your time to your children (even though you are busy). Offer to take a friend with you to your favorite hunting spot. Volunteer to help at your child's school. Volunteer to serve food at the local shelter. Take groceries to a family in your community who is in need. Take a day off work to take the elderly neighbor to the doctor. Help the old lady in the Kroger parking lot with her groceries. While mowing your yard, mow the neighbor's yard as well. Rake your leaves and your neighbor's leaves. Take flowers to the ladies at the nursing home and tell them they are beautiful in God's eyes. Take time to notice needs, and give to meet them. Take time to care, and to act.
This Thanksgiving season, among the turkey and dressing, among the family time and laughter, among the smile of a child and tears of an old lady, among the crispness of the dawn in the deer woods, among the hot coffee on a cold morning, take the time to say "Thank you, God". Name these things you are thankful for. Make a list. If you write down these things then you can pull them out on a bad day and it will make you appreciate how good God is to you. During Thanksgiving, don't forget to give God thanks.
This Thanksgiving season, don't forget the second part of that word; "giving". Give. Give of your time and your resources. Think of others and help them. Reflect upon how thankful you are for what God has given you, and then use this thankfulness as a catalyst to move you into action to give to someone else. Give.
And when we think of being thankful and giving, we cannot help but think about what Jesus Christ did for us. How He gave of Himself on a cruel Roman cross to pay the penalty for our sins, yours and mine. How thankful we are that Jesus died for us, and rose again, so that we may enjoy life here on earth and eternal life in Heaven with our God. With this thankfulness for our salvation, the best gift we could ever be given, share this gift with someone else.
Perhaps the best example of thanksgiving is for you to appreciate what Jesus did for you, and give your testimony (share your experience) with someone else. Will you do that?
THANKS-GIVING. Be thankful. And give.
May God richly bless you and your families during this Thanksgiving season. And remember, thanksgiving is not a holiday, it is a way of life.
PS: If you have never experienced the joy that comes with knowing God through Jesus Christ, and you would like to today, then pray this simple prayer. "God, I know that I am a sinner, that I do wrong. And God, I believe that you love me. I believe you love me so much that you gave your son Jesus to die for my sins. I believe that Jesus arose from the dead to show me that one day I will also. I right now wish to accept Jesus as my savior and make Him the Lord of my life. I will strive every day to live a life pleasing to you, God. I am thankful for this gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus, and it is in His name I pray. Thank you for saving me, Jesus. Amen."
If you prayed this prayer for the first time and need some guidance as to next steps, you can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or find a local Bible believing church and attend; they will help you much more than I can.