What a wonderful visit we enjoyed with our young grandchildren recently! As is the tradition with most grandparents, we prepared well in advance of the visit, stretching the grocery budget to include ice cream, cookies, and kid-friendly munchies, most of which were sadly lacking in nutritional value, but all ranked high on the hyper-out sugar meter. Our two-year old teeny granddaughter was especially fond of those special snacks. But every time her gorgeous little smile magically coaxed another munchie to pop from Grandma’s cupboard, I heard the same phrase repeated in the background, a prodding from her wise mommy! Emma, what do you say? …followed by the sweetest replies ever to grace a little one’s lips…Tank ooo, Gammaw.
My discerning daughter understands well that one of the greatest gifts she can pass along to her daughter is an attitude of thankfulness. The responsibility to instruct a child to express gratitude for the kind actions of others, to write a heart-felt note to show appreciation for a gift, or to kneel in thankfulness to a heavenly Father, falls upon us as parents.
Thankfulness is a prominent Bible theme, flowing passionately from the lips and hearts of many of Scripture’s most prominent figures. King David praised God for deliverance from his enemies, as his faithful Father “lifted him (David) up” and forbade those “foes to rejoice” over him. Even in adversity, this shepherd-king kept his focus firmly locked on thanksgiving, lifting his hands toward heaven and joyfully proclaiming “The LORD is my strength and my shield…therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” And who could dismiss the example set by the aged Job, who while drowning in unspeakable sorrow and loss, still mustered the strength to boldly exclaim “blessed be the name of the LORD.”
In the New Testament, the heavily-persecuted apostle Paul would also find solace in thankfulness, exhorting the early church to join him in a victory cry “unto God, which causes us to triumph in Christ.” Peter, writing to the dispersed Jewish Christians who were enduring unrelenting persecution under the heavy hand of the Roman Empire, reminded those suffering saints not to grumble, but to grow in their faith, to “greatly rejoice,” so that those trials would not be unfruitful, but “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” These saints of old understood that thankfulness is not a suggestion, a good idea, or a passing courtesy, it is a direct command from the heart of our God, Who reminds us that “In EVERYTHING” we are to “give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” When gratitude flows unbridled from our lips, not FOR every circumstance in which we find ourselves, but IN every situation that arises, we find ourselves on solid footing in the direct will of God.
I think that we would all agree that we live in “perilous times,” as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, knee-deep in government mandates, suffering the effects of an economic downturn, enduring political ugliness, and grappling with future uncertainties, making it almost too easy to resort to grumbling rather than to bask in thankfulness. I find it interesting that among the characteristics of the “last days” provided for us in Scripture is that of being “unthankful.” Named alongside those who are “covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers…unholy…fierce, despisers of those that are good…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” are those who have lost the ability to be thankful. I find that incredibly convicting.
Being thankful to a holy God, “who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” to the One Who came that we “might have life” and “have it more abundantly,” is not only appropriate and deserved, but also healthy and beneficial to us. When we recognize the ugly depravity of our sinful nature and understand that apart from God’s grace there exists only death, we can echo the sentiments of the psalmist as he sings, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” As believers, we serve a God Who is constantly good and remarkably kind, a Father Who expresses steadfast love that never quits, even though we stand unworthy before Him.
Perhaps during these days of uncertainty and confusion, a bit of thankfulness might serve me well. As a lost, angry, confused world looks at me, would it not be amazing that instead of seeing a complaining child, they saw a humble servant praising her God and Father in the midst of the storm, thanking Him for the vast array of blessings He bestows daily upon me, standing confidently on His promises. What a door of opportunity has been opened for us to witness to those who cross our path and to display, via our thankfulness, the reason for the hope that lies within us!
1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3448-6393f0edf1db3' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3448&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3448-6393f0edf1db3' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3448-6393f0edf1db3' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>