Tomorrow is Thanksgiving: a day some of my fellow Americans perform amazing feats of gluttony before spending the next three weeks engaged in uncontrolled consumerism to celebrate the birth of a man whose purpose in being born was to give His life for others.
I’ve never really been one for celebrating holidays (though I admit that I treated myself to some beshbarmak (a Kazakh national dish) at a local Kazakh restaurant on my 50th birthday last month and bought a cake for my co-workers). I have no objection to people who do celebrate and I wish them all that each holiday is supposed to bring. For me, though, one day is like any other. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:5-6 (ESV), “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” I’m someone who “esteems all days alike.”
It’s great to give thanks, to be thankful for all that we have received. However, we should be thankful every day. The very fact that God allows any of us even to draw breath from one moment to the next is an act of undeserved kindness on His part. (We call that undeserved kindness “grace”). The scriptures are replete with commands to give thanks and I want to quote just a few as a reminder. All of these scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name” (Psalm 30:4).
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1).
“Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!” (Psalm 97:12).
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4).
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” (Psalm 105:1).
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalms 107:1 and 118:1).
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12).
So, on this Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks for all that God has graciously allowed us (even caused us) to receive. Let us be thankful to Him and for Him. Yet, let us not just give thanks on this one day out of the year, but every day. Let us give thanks not by performing feats of gluttony, but in humility, knowing that even the breath we draw from one moment to the next is solely by God’s grace. Let us take to heart the warning found in Lamentations 3:22 (KJV), “It is of * the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”
*The italicized portion is not found in the original Hebrew.