This is Thanksgiving week, and at some point along the way this week, each of us will likely think about how we should be more thankful. The truth is that it is difficult in to be thankful in our American culture that breeds dissatisfaction on every hand. We have to work at thankfulness. No question there. Probably the great teaching the Bible regarding thankfulness is found in Psalm 100…
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:1–4, ESV)
These verses certainly have much to teach us about giving thanks. However, I believe the most important truth is easy to miss. Did you notice why we can make a joyful noise and serve the Lord with gladness? Verse 3 is the answer to that question: because we know the Lord is God. He is the Creator. He made us. The reason we can do these things is because of God himself. He is the sovereign creator and ruler over this world and each of us. Think about it.
In addition, Psalm 100 ends with a great declaration of God…
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5, ESV)
The reason that verses 1-4 are true is because verse 5 is true. Think about it. Because verse 5 is true, then we are driven to do the things described in verses 1-4. You see, in the Bible, giving thanks is more than just saying an obligatory prayer at the family gathering. Biblical thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart that overflows into words and works of praise to God. Once we recognize God for who He is and we surrender to Him, love Him, serve Him, seek Him, and fear Him, only then can we truly be thankful.
Have you ever wondered why there is such discontent and a lack of thankfulness in our country today? Actually it is entirely predictable if we study the Bible. So many in our culture have jettisoned the Biblical teaching of creation in favor of evolution and a secular worldview that permeates everything. Certainly, one result is the moral revolution (for the worse) that our country has experienced in recent decades. However, the lack of satisfaction and thankfulness in America today can be traced directly to a culture that has left God and wants nothing to with Him. How do I know that? Just read Psalm 100:3 again. If there is no Creator, there is no reason to give thanks and be content; all that matters is my life and what I want.
Think about it.
Don’t miss the other side of the Psalm 100 coin. Since we KNOW the Creator, then we CAN give thanks and serve Him. There is a reason to be thankful if we know the Lord, and it is far, far more than simply, “Lord, thank you for my stuff.” Oh Lord, help us understand this Thanksgiving that the giver is far better than any gift!