Questions to answer:
Why should we be thankful?
What should we be thankful for?
How can we worship God?
Thankfulness can be viewed as a function of trust?
Paul, in Philippians, gives us a very important key to being a Christian. We would be wise to remember it in our times of trouble and anxiety.
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Paul seems to say that being thankful is part of the way that we will find peace. This sounds great and all, but how are we supposed to always be thankful when things don’t seem to go very well? There is a ton of violence, disease, and overall heartbreak in this world – how do we stay thankful? Paul had a tough life once he converted to become a Christian, but goes on in Philippians 4 to explain that he has learned to be content in any situation.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:10-13 ESV)
Philippians 4:13 is a fan favorite, there’s no doubt about that. But do you know the context of it? Paul suffered during his ministry, and probably lived very frugally, but he explains in Philippians 4 that he has learned how to be brought down. He has learned how to face hunger and need. He does this through Jesus, and probably uses his own advice (giving thanks) to get through the hard times. When we pray, do we make sure to thank God for our situation? It can just about always be worse, no matter what we are dealing with at any given moment. Being thankful for the good things in our lives is such a big part of Christianity.
There are plenty of things to be grateful for, even in our hard times. Sometimes it might feel like God doesn’t want us to enjoy anything. However, God created so much that is good, and the Bible says so at just about the very beginning.
10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10).
God’s creation is good. One way to be thankful is to get out into the beauty of the earth and to see God’s goodness. We can find beauty in so many parts of this world, even in Nebraska! The mountains, valleys, colors of this earth, there is so much to be thankful for. The animals that are in this world can be so crazy! Like, if you watch one episode of a David Attenborough (BBC) documentary series, you’ll see how crazy life is. We can view it as a testimony to God’s love for his people – would an unloving God put us on a beautiful planet with so much intricacy?
The Book of Psalms talks a lot about giving thanks to God.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers―
the moon and the stars you set in place―
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them? (Psalms 8:3-4 NLT)
God created such a beautiful universe for us and specially created one of its rocks to be pretty awesome for us – this view of life can help us be thankful to our God.
How then are we to show thankfulness to God? I believe that there are different ways to do this, but one of the best ways to show our gratitude is to live in a pleasing way to God. It seems God is especially pleased when we give to the poor.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19:17 ESV)
Pretty cool. God cares for the poor, and if He does, then we should as well. We are to seek justice, after all (a topic I can go in to in another post). Here’s another cool verse.
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. (Matthew 10:8 ESV)
God has offered us so much, including the gift of salvation, and although we could never pay him back in full, we are to give our services, time, and money. And when we give, it should be without complaining. If we are truly grateful, we should be happy to give. In this way, thankfulness can conquer our own selfishness.
I also think that worship is a great way to give thanks to God.
Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. (Psalms 96:1-6 NLT)
I don’t think God cares too much about whether or not we’d stand a chance on The Voice, but I do think he wants us to show our gladness through song. There is some pretty good worship music out there to guide us!
I think possibly the greatest way we can give thanks, however, is to have faith. Faith that God will save and that he will work in our lives and that he is a good God.
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)
Anyways, thankfulness can fix the way we look at a myriad of problems – depression, sorrow, anger, and selfishness are examples. When we look at our accomplishments, what better way to rejoice than by giving thanks to God for what he has allowed us to do in our lives?
Philippians 4:6-7 shows us how to approach situations that we might not be thankful for. We are able to boldly face challenges with a thankful approach, and are to have faith when looking in the face of challenges.
https://www.worldvision.org (What does the Bible say about poverty?)
Youversion Bible App