How to Give Thanks
In one of the darkest hours of the second World War, when the British army was being evacuated from the beaches of , an English cIergy-man noticed a young boy frequently came to his church to pray. After he had seen him there several times, the minister came to the boy one day and said, "I see you make it a habit of coming here, my son.”
The boy answered, “Yes, I have been here five times in the last five days.”
The minister said. “I suppose you have one of your family in the thick of it, across the channel.”
“My father, sir,” said the boy, and then added, “but he got home yesterday, so I came to say my 'thank-yous' to God.”
This boy understood and practiced one of the most important parts of religion, and one which we frequently overlook - the necessity of expressing our gratitude to God. We must give thanks to God at all times, for His goodness is always over us and we are daily dependent upon Him for the good things of life and for our very existence.
Let us consider briefly five steps in an acceptable expression of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is an acknowledgement of the fact that all we have is given by God out of His goodness.
When Moses stood with the children of Israel at the border of the promised land, he exhorted them: “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God... Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein... Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God... And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:11, 12, 14, 17, 18.
This message of the Word of God needs special emphasis in a time of prosperity and blessing.
An acceptable thanksgiving is a recognition of our own unworthiness. It is not our worthiness but God’s love which is the ground of all He does for us. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” Romans 8:32
After David was brought to the throne of Israel, he confessed his own unworthiness: "Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O lord God and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto” II Samuel 7:18. Let us learn to cultivate this spirit. Let us practice humility.
We must express our thanks to God in words. It is true that there must be a spontaneous, inward feeling of gratitude to God for what He has done for us, but the Bible very clearly shows that this feeling must be expressed in words: “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His Name: make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him: talk ye of all His wondrous works." Psalm 105: I, 2.
It is by talking about God’s gifts and works that we acknowledge that He is the giver of these things. Let us on every occasion speak of God’s goodness and His power to save.
The fourth way of showing our gratitude is by giving. One of the principle offerings of the Old Testament was the thank offering. When David wanted to thank God for ending the pestilence, he refused Araunah’s offer of the threshing floor and said, “Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” 11 Samuel 24:24.
Let us make sure that our thank offerings are a sacrifice of thanksgiving. If we bring our small change to the house of God for a thank offering and keep the major portion of our money to spend on ourselves for our own pleasure, it can hardly be called a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
The fifth way we can snow our gratitude to God is by dedicating our lives unto His service. This is the final and the fullest expression of gratitude. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12: I.
Here we see the only adequate and final expression of gratitude which a person who has been redeemed can make to God.
As we review all that God has done for us, as we are reminded of His immeasurable love for us, let us dedicate ourselves anew to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and to the cause of His kingdom. Let us speak of the works of God, and sing of the grace of God, and give our money for the spread of the Gospel, but above all let us yield ourselves in heart and life to the will of God in Jesus Christ.