Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we're about to eat, amen.
Whether we admit it or not, that's a fairly common attitude. In fact, it's so common that God warned His people about this ungratefulness thousands of years ago. In the book of Deuteronomy, He told them:
Beware lest you say in your heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth." You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17-18 ESV).
The fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. For most people, it's a day of eating, watching sports and enjoying time off from work. Far too often, the idea of giving thanks gets lost along the way.
So what's the point of giving thanks? I can think of several positive things that come out of our taking time to give thanks for what we have received:
- Giving thanks helps us to appreciate what we have. It's all too easy to focus on what we don't have rather than recognize what we've received. It's healthy for us to take stock of what's been given to us and then to give thanks for those things.
- Giving thanks helps us to be aware of those who have less. When we realize that what we have was given to us, we are better able to share with others. They are as deserving of God's blessings as we are.
- Giving thanks gives us more security for the future. When I realize that blessings don't depend purely on my strength, I can be more confident going forward. Just as God has blessed me now, He can bless me in the future.
- Giving thanks is the right thing to do. We teach our children to do it, yet sometimes forget to do it ourselves. God is pleased when we give thanks to Him.
If you don't feel close to God at this time, maybe giving thanks to Him is a good way to begin fixing that relationship. Take some time to recognize the good things that He's done. We have lots of time for complaining about the bad; let's stop now and thank Him for the good. It will do us a world of good.