Nov 18, 2010

A Word for Thanksgiving

In the next week we will celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For believers, Christian or Jewish, every day is a day of thanks. Yet in our most honest moments we recognize that “thanksgiving” is a tough emotion to manufacture. Most human beings are not born thankful. For another thing, we find it more difficult to give thanks for the present than we do for past things or for what the future holds. Ultimately, truly thankful people who are spiritually mature. However difficult spiritual maturity may be we do know that being mature is not simple. Thus, thanksgiving is something that we know that we ought to feel, but in practice it is a difficult notion to live out daily.

In the book of Revelation, the writer tells us that

“all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen’ ” (Revelation 7:11-12).
Notice that thanksgiving is one of the seven aspects of the heavenly worship of God. But we all know people who see no need to thank God, or any one else for that matter.

In his book, Folk Psalms of Faith, Ray Stedman tells of an experience H. A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?”

Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.”

The man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.”

The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!”

Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”

As we said, spiritually mature people are thankful people.

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