“In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Paul wrote these words (1 Thessalonians 5:18) to the brethren in Thessalonica. The word translated as “thanks” is from the Greek word “charis” -- the same word used for “grace”. Many times as we sit down to eat our meal we will “say grace”, which, of course, means to thank God for His provision and blessing. Giving thanks to God is the proper response to the Almighty God of the universe who created us, breathed into us the breath of life and provided the earth for us to live and prosper. The brother of Jesus wrote, “Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or changing shadow” (James 1:17). Literally, this is written, “every act of giving that which is of completely developed benefit to people”.
Our Father in heaven freely gives to us these things “without variation or changing shadow”, but we often fail to offer our thanksgiving to Him in a consistent manner. The beautiful hymn that encourages Christians to “count your blessings, name them one by one” is right on the mark. If we could discipline our minds to look for the blessings of life and not dwell upon that which we perceive as “bad”, our relationships with God would improve dramatically.
The most important completely developed beneficial gift to us from God is Jesus Christ. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate “Thanksgiving”, keep in mind that for which we should be truly and eternally grateful. We are blessed to live in America. We are blessed by the people around us. We are blessed to be children of God in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
One problem we face as human beings is the malfunctioning of our memory. We remember what we are supposed to forget, and we forget what we should remember. God says, “Your sins and your iniquities I will remember no more.” Yet many Christians go through life shackled with the memory of sin God has forgotten. I meet many people who are still chained to failures of the past. Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind.”
But we need to ask God for a good memory concerning the help He has given in the past. For some reason, we forget the mercies and blessings of the past. Our God has cared for you thus far. Continue to trust Him. His care is sure and steadfast. “Yesterday God helped me. Today He will do the same. How long will this continue? Forever -- praise His name!”