Thank You! Two words unlock a beautiful, divine gift. But the gift can only be seen if we refuse to see our Father in our own light. What? Let’s start with something we all know and work our way up!
Thank You: How we see it
As a ministry family, we have received hundreds of invitations in our time. They have included invitations to:
- Graduations (High School, College, & Seminary)
- Baby Showers
- Wedding Showers
- Anniversary Celebrations
Now, you know what goes with most of those invitations. Each is an opportunity to send a gift. Nothing wrong with that. But each gift is also an opportunity for a thank you note. Did we receive one such note for every gift sent? You know we didn’t. And that can be challenging when the ‘unthankful’ high school grad sends out invitations to a college graduation. That is also true when one receives an invitation to a baby shower from an ‘unthankful’ bride. Was gratitude missing? That’s debatable. But acknowledgement was missing. Now, hold on to that very human thought.
Thank You: God’s Perspective
We are fallen, finite, created beings. Our Father is so very different from us. He is holy, infinite, and Self-existent. He has no needs. Our Father is perfectly good in all His ways. Whatever He does is good and perfect because that is Who and What He is. Now, let’s apply that thought to His prescription in Psalm 100:4. When the Father says:
Come into His gates with thanksgiving…
Is there some need in God Almighty to hear a Thank You echoing in the halls of heaven? No. He has no needs of any kind. So what is the importance of the command? Who is it for?
In the previous post I said this command was connected to worship. And that connects us to the Greatest Commandment. It is a worship commandment. To love the Lord with all of our being is our highest calling. What or Who we love summarizes our being. And all of our actions will flow out of who we are. So this great being Commandment is followed by the Second Commandment:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
This is the doing Commandment. And gratitude is an essential part of our being and our doing!
Acknowledging Gifts: It’s For Our Good
Saying Thank You to our Father is to acknowledge His hand in our lives. But that is just the beginning. It also acknowledges His character. He is the Author of every good and perfect gift. What He gives is perfect even when/if we don’t see it that way. He cannot give an imperfect gift! Just ponder that thought a minute or two.
When we say Thank You we are confessing and affirming that what we have been given is beyond ourselves. We did not provide it. Whatever we have been given came through the power and grace of Another. This causes us to turn our attention and focus off ourselves. And that is extremely beneficial for all us sinful creatures.
Our modern understanding of mental health disorders shows us the beauty of our Father’s care. Many mental disorders are associated with an inordinate focus on self. Self awareness and self preservation are good, God-given things. But self-focus can get out of line and become unhealthy. So what does our loving Creator God and Father prescribe for His now fallen, sinful children: Worship and Thanksgiving!
Thank You, Worship, Health
Self-focus is a danger with a long history. First, there was Satan. He wanted to focus the praise of God on himself. This caused a rebellion in heaven and he was expelled as a result. Second, look at Nebuchadnezzar. He was so focused on himself (impressed with himself) that he literally lost his sanity.
So our very loving Father command us to do two things that benefit us. To worship is to focus our minds and attentions on Another. When we love Him rightly He consumes our thoughts. And we know:
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
And just to make sure we don’t mess up and harm ourselves, He says we are to give thanks. We are to acknowledge what He has done. What a beautiful set of reasons behind some very simple commands. Enjoy giving thanks, it’s for your good!
Soli Deo Gloria!