ROSCOMMON, MI – Next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. Even though it involves a couple of my favorite things - food and family - I most enjoy the pause of life at Thanksgiving. I enjoy the emphasis of being thankful for how God has blessed us. Thankfulness for Salvation, grace, forgiveness, family, food, job and numerous other blessings. It serves as a reminder that each day we should live with an attitude of thankfulness and learn to speak the Language of Thanksgiving.
Scripture is plentiful with its exhortations to be thankful or give thanks. Psalm 106:1 “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever”. Psalm 95:2-3 “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Just from this very small sample of scriptures we can read how God listens, and is moved by our thankfulness. As a dad with three children, I get it. There is nothing that melts my heart faster than hearing “Thanks Dad” from a grateful heart. I will move heaven and earth to please a thankful attitude. So if I’m geared that way, how much more is our Heavenly Father moved by our thankfulness! It’s all about the heart. The only way we can speak the Language of Thanksgiving is with a humble heart. A heart overwhelmed by the love of God, the goodness of God, the grace of God. You see, when my children express “thankfulness” to me, it’s a window into their soul. It lets me see a heart filled with love and selflessness, not pride and selfishness. That makes a dad happy! How pleased our Heavenly Father must be to see reflections of Himself in us.
Since “Thankfulness” is a condition of the heart it does not have to be affected by our circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I have to admit, personally this can be difficult. When life throws me a curve ball my first reaction is not always “thank-you Jesus”. It’s more like “are you kidding me?” My pride likes to be in control. However, when I deny my pride and let the Lordship of Christ reign in my heart, I can express thankfulness for His grace and provision in my life. I can be thankful knowing He has my back, always. I can be thankful and rest in Him. When I’m resting in Him I’m not panicking about me. This makes me a better person. This makes my life more about Him than about me. This allows me to encounter the world around me with the “Language of Thanksgiving”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.