Our Father is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, James 1:17. And that means so much more than the earthly goods we may or may not possess. He cannot give us anything that is not good. Think about that. So, as we express our gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day, how many blessings have we really received? Let me share a few you might not think about!
The Giver – Our Example
James began (James 1:2-3) by telling us to count it all joy when we face varied trials and temptations. He moved from that statement to reminding us that our Father gives every good and perfect gift. But God prescribed thankfulness very early in the Scriptural record.
The Lord established patterns of thanksgiving through the priesthood and the sacrifices of worship. The first Biblical mention of thanksgiving is in Leviticus 7:11-15. And this sacrifice of thanksgiving was a voluntary offering. But in 1 Chronicles 23:30, God commanded the priests to express thanks every morning and evening. And we have other references showing that giving thanks is an integral part of worship.
- Read Psalm 100:4
- Read Psalm 95:2
God At Work For His People
He has answered prayers for protection and provision. Psalm 107 is a recollection of God’s protection in the face of difficult circumstances. Verse 21 tells us:
Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for all His wonderful deeds to them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about His glorious acts.
And He is still at work for His people! Remember: He Who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it – Philippinas 1:6.
Thanking God For Who He Is
That list could be much longer. But you get the idea. We need to be thankful for the Giver as well as His gifts. But there’s more. He gives us what He is! What? He gives us His righteousness because we don’t have any of our own. That’s salvation. Think about the following examples.
Giver Of Wisdom
All knowledge is His. He is also the embodiment of Wisdom – the proper use of knowledge. And James 1:5 says that if any of us lacks wisdom we can ask Him for it and He will give it generously. But our Father has been doing that for centuries. Daniel 2:17-23 records Daniel’s prayer of thanksgiving for God’s gift of wisdom for interpreting the king’s dream.
The Source Of Healing
In Exodus 15:23, at the waters of Marah, God revealed Himself as Jehovah Rapha, the God Who heals. And in Luke 17:11-19 we read of 10 lepers who were healed. However, only one returned to give thanks to the Savior. Verse 16 tells us:
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.
All of us can recall times when God blessed us with His healing touch. He gives us His continued strength. And we never want to take that for granted. The one leper reminds us that God takes notice of those who are thankful – and those who are not (the 9 other lepers).
Thanksgiving For Faithfulness
Our Father never fails – He is forever faithful. We need to be thankful for that as well. King David’s last recorded prayer is in 1 Chronicles 29:10-19.
God had been faithful to allow David and the people of Israel to gather the materials Solomon would use to build the Temple. David wouldn’t see the Temple completed. But his prayer was one of praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness, goodness and provision. We also need to recount God’s faithfulness, goodness and provision in our lives.
God Gives Us Partners
The Apostle Paul opened his letter to the Philippians with these words – Philippians 1:3-6…
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy, because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the first time you heard it until now.
I have a great identification with Paul’s words. The mission of EquipUs involves so many great people and I thank Him for all of you! You are gifts from the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
Think about the people who worked with you on a ministry project, a mission effort or any work of spreading the Gospel. God calls us to His work then brings people alongside to help us. How many people do you remember who helped you teach children, youth, adult Bible study, mission outreach projects, VBS, food kitchens, medical missions or any other ministry opportunity He has given to us? Be like the leper – give Him thanks for those people!
Giver Of Growth
Paul also pointed out that God gave us people to help us grow in our faith. Notice Romans 1:8 –
Let me say first of all that your faith in God is becoming known throughout the world. How I thank God through Jesus Christ for each one of you.
Thank God for people who instructed you in matters of faith (parents, Sunday School teachers, Youth leaders, VBS workers, pastors, and discipleship leaders). God created us for fellowship, where we learn and grow together. And it is good and proper for us to thank God for those who have been role models and mentors in our lives.
Thankful For Everything
And just to cover all the bases, Paul instructed believers to be thankful for everything. Really?
And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20
In all things we are to give thanks. Everything around us isn’t good, but we can rest assured that He will bring good from those circumstances for His own (Romans 8:28).
Our trials help us grow and persevere in faith (James 1). We choose how we respond to all things in our lives, the good and bad. When things are hard, it becomes a sacrifice to look beyond the situation to God’s perspective. God inhabits eternity and knows the end from the beginning. We don’t have His perspective.
A Closing Question
By now, you may have realized that being thankful to the Giver of all is a very big and very necessary task. So let me ask:
Have we grown to the point that we can give a sacrifice of thanksgiving?
God works in many ways, through a variety of people, for His purposes. And I hope our look at the examples of giving thanks move us to cultivate a daily heart of gratitude.