As Americans gathered (or socially distanced) to celebrate Thanksgiving recently, the topic of thankfulness has been on my mind and in many sermons. Though it’s a yearly celebration, one might start to wonder– what’s the point this year? 2020 has been a dumpster fire from the beginning, and now gatherings are being restricted and families are being kept apart. Why should we be grateful? And how can we be?
For the Christian, the suggestion to be grateful in November is actually a year-round command from our Lord. We are commanded many times in the Bible to give thanks to the Lord for all He has done, to give thanks even in our sufferings. In short, we should always give thanks regardless of our circumstances because God has told us to and we are to obey Him. But as fallen humans, we struggle doing things simply because God has said to, and so we try to find other reasons to follow along. I personally am grateful that I am not competitive and don’t mind losing, because my husband wins nearly every game he plays!
We are reminded in Psalm 105 to give thanks to the Lord and to share what He has done for us!
“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make His deeds known among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Tell of all His wonders. Boast in His holy name; may the heart of those who seek the Lord be joyful. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments spoken by His mouth.” -Psalm 105:1-5 (NASB)
A Response To Robbery
Below is an excerpt from the diary of Matthew Henry, a Bible scholar from the late 1600s. He found himself confronted and robbed on the day he wrote this:
“Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
What a perspective to have! Even though things seem bleak, there is always something to be grateful for. If you ever need a place to start, there is the simple and profound truth that Christ has come to reconcile you to the Father and granted you pardon from the eternal punishment of your sins.
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” -Romans 6:17-18 (ESV)
As far as this year goes? You still draw breath. It is up to you how you spend it—either in grumbling or in gratitude. And remember this: