“[I]n everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NASB).
This Thursday is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays! We have so much to be thankful for, and thankfulness is one of the most prominent themes that runs through the entire Bible. However, I think gratitude is a lost art in our culture today. Between the juggernauts of entitlement and earning, thankfulness gets squeezed out.
The thread that ties these two opposite ends of the spectrum together is the idea that we deserve good things. Entitlement says, “I deserve this because of who I am, or because of my circumstances.” And earning says, “I deserve this because I worked hard to get it.” Both perspectives are opponents of thankfulness. I know many people (believers and non-believers alike) who think there is no need to say thank you for something that is rightfully yours. You don’t thank your boss when you get paid because you worked to earn that pay. You don’t thank your wife (or husband) for being faithful to your marriage because that’s what he/she is supposed to do. You don’t thank your kids for their obedience because they owe you that obedience. When we think we deserve something, we tend to forget about being thankful. And when we don’t get what we think we deserve, we tend to be angry with God.
But the reality is we are entitled to nothing; neither did we earn anything. God doesn’t owe me (or you, see Romans 11:35). Literally, every good thing in my life is a gift from God (see James 1:17). Since I don’t deserve anything, I should give thanks in everything. And Paul says it very strongly in 1 Thessalonians: being thankful is God’s will for us! Of all people in this world, Christians should be the most gracious, the most grateful, and the most willing to give thanks in all things.
Praying you will have a great Thanksgiving this week!