Why Should We Be Thankful
Our nation has just participated in the Mid-term elections. There’s been plenty of speeches, rhetoric, and promises made by candidates. After the outcome is validated, now comes the pundits with their evaluations and opinions.
For today, I invite you to step back in time and consider the words our first President George Washington. He wrote: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of God, to obey His will, to be grateful for all His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor. Whereas, both houses of Congress, by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States, a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially be affording them an opportunity peaceable to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now, therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted to the people of the States to the service of that great and glorious Being, Who is the beneficent Author of all that good that was, that is, and that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering to Him our sincere and humble thanks for His care and protection of the people of this country.”
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed: “It is the duty of nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord. It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.”
Why should we be thankful?
The Bible teaches that we should be thankful because all we are and have is from God’s hand (James 1:17; Revelation 4:11). God is our Creator, our provider, and our sustainer (Revelation 5:9). And most important of all, God has provided a way for the sinner to be reconciled and saved from sin’s penalty.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The word “reconcile” means to restore to friendship and harmony.
Ephesians 2:1-3 states that we are naturally enemies of God and therefore, separated from God because of sin (Romans 3:10,23). The possibility of being brought into a peaceful relationship with God is available to you because Jesus Christ died upon the cross for sin and shed His blood so that you can experience forgiveness (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:9). The greatest gift of all is the gift of salvation.
We should also be thankful because this is God’s purpose for you (Psalm 100). We give God thanks for meeting the needs of life, for the bountiful blessings of life, and most of all, for the gift of eternal life which is found through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23; John 3:16-21).
Matthew Henry was used by God to write a classic commentary of the entire Bible which was first published in 1710. He was once accosted by thieves and robbed. He wrote these words in his diary. “Let me thankful first, because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life. Third, because although they took my all, it was not much. And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).