This is a quick post about thanksgiving perspective. A lot of us have choices we have to make this week. Are we going to go back for a second or third helping of mashed potatoes? Do we go back for more cranberry sauce? Are we going to eat light meat or dark meat?
There are a lot of choices to make, but there is a choice that we have to make that has to do with thanksgiving. It’s a choice that is greater than any of the choices we make at thanksgiving dinner. It has to do with how we see life.
When we take on the ideal of giving thanks and gratitude, we are taking on a higher perspective than our own. We’re not seeing life just through our eyes, but we’re seeing life through the eyes of God. So we have a choice to make, and that is how we see life, with an attitude of thanksgiving or not.
We’ll look at 1 Thessalonians 5. I’ve always thought this is a wonderful Scripture to share with someone whose struggling with the will of God in their life,
“I’ve figured it out! I know what the will of God is for your life. It’s right here in Scripture.”
1 Thessalonians 5.18: give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
If we would give thanks for all the things God has done for us, we wouldn’t have to worry about what He’s going to do next! Would we?
i. We are commanded to be thankful
Thankfulness is a command penned by Paul, but inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word is eucharisteo, where we get our term Eucharist, which literally means thanksgiving. We probably think Eucharist basically means communion, but it means giving thanks. It also has those types of roots in the Early Church.
This is a command, in the imperative sense, the same as in English. We do not have a choice to exhibit gratitude. If we name the name of Christ, if we’re Christians, we are commanded to be grateful.
ii. A snapshot of my family
Crystal and I both came from families where gratitude was a command. Our parents required us to thank others for the kindnesses they offered.
We teach our children to say thank you. We teach them to be polite. You might hear them say “Yes ma’am” or “Yes sir.” If you give a gift to our children, you might receive one of their world-famous, hand-crafted “thank you” cards . . . that Crystal makes them make.
Even I have a stack of thank you cards in my study, her quintessential thank you. If she can get me to write a thank you card to somebody, then I have fulfilled a desire of her heart. She has to thank people, because that is who she is. Our parents raised both of us that way.
iii. The discipline or grace of gratitude
That’s the way we’re raising our children. Parents should hear this. It’s not about making our children do something they don’t want to do. No, it’s about training our children in a discipline. It’s about training our children in the grace or the discipline of gratitude until they master it.
Once that grace has taken root in their lives, it changes who they are at the core. So that’s why we’re required by Scripture to give thanks. An ungrateful heart is not pleasing to God. We’re commanded to be trained in the discipline and grace of thanksgiving.
adapted from JVI, Thanksgiving Perspective, 11.27.16.