Thanksgiving, for the Christ-follower, is not an Option!

26 Nov


Photo by mensatic on Morgue File.

Well, tomorrow is Turkey day, also known as Thanksgiving here in the States. Yesterday I wrote about something not to be thankful for.

Today, I thought I would keep the spirit of this season and look at the fact that as believers in Christ, we should be thankful and what effect our thanksgiving will have upon us and those around us.

A passage I use often this time of year is Colossians 3.15-17. Here is what Paul wrote to the church in Colossae:

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3.15-17, ESV)

Paul tells these first-century believers, and us by extension, to be thankful. This may sound like a rather odd thing to be told to do. I mean, how can you be thankful if you really are not? Can you muster up thankfulness? Can you work up gratitude? It almost sounds like a frustrated parent yelling, in exasperation, at her overly self-involved teenage daughter to be happy!

But, Paul is not writing to a disgruntled group of egotistical believers. Instead, he is writing to a church that is strong and faithful in the Lord. Here it is not so much that Paul is commanding them to do something that they have yet to do, or something they seem unwilling and altogether unable to do; rather, he is reminding them not to forget to be thankful.

It is a gentle admonishment to these believers to continue serving and loving God and being thankful for his goodness and grace.

We, as believers, are to be defined by the spirit of Christ. As we allow his peace to rule in our hearts, we will feel a kinship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, a kinship that will lead to practical unity and solidarity in Christ. As we are united for the sake of his gospel (cf. Phil. 1.27) we will naturally, out of an overflow of Christ’s love and peace, be grateful to God.

In fact, a good way to check up on our current spiritual well-being is to see how thankful we are for God’s goodness to us at the moment. If we find ourselves ungrateful or unwilling to offer thanks, it indicates our walk with Christ has detoured and we need, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to backtrack and retrace our wandering steps.

Thanksgiving carries over into our worship and songs unto the Lord. It is a catalyst to our being obedient and pleasing to God. We certainly cannot do all in the name of Christ if we are bitter, perturbed and ungrateful!

This spiritual DNA, if you will, reminds me of the song of praise by David in 1 Chronicles 16. David praises God and admonishes the people, saying,

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones! (1 Chron. 16.8-13, ESV)

Notice the opening verse, David links thanksgiving to God with prayer and worship. Not only that, but he links it to, what we might call, evangelistic zeal and a sense of being missionally minded. As we think on God, we feel our hearts swell with thanksgiving. As we praise God and show him our gratitude, we naturally worship and lift up his holy name. As we worship him, as we are so enthralled by who he is and what he has done for us, we cannot help but to tell others about how great and good he is!

This Thanksgiving, be sure to contemplate the goodness and grandeur of God. Take time to offer your sacrifice of thanksgiving to Christ, for he is worthy of our adoration and worship.

As you thank him, as you praise and extol him, you will find yourself thanking him more and more and looking for opportunities to tell others about how wonderful and marvelous he is!

To you all, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! May God bless and glory forever and ever to Christ our God and King!


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2 responses to “Thanksgiving, for the Christ-follower, is not an Option!

  1. GodGirl

    November 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Great post Timothy. It’s so true that thankfulness doesn’t come naturally, but once we enter into worship, God often gives us the ability to continue in praise. We just have to start somewhere.
    Happy Thanksgiving 🙂


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