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Cultivating an Attitude of Thanksgiving

There is one basic reason why we should be forever offering thanksgiving to God, it is because of the truth that he saved us from the curse and sure punishment of sin.

I’ve always believe that one of the identifying marks of a person who has become a true Christian is his thankful and grateful heart to minion our sin. Our relation of the extent of how much God has forgiven us and how great salvation we have received from him we will determine the kinds of thanksgiving we will offer to God. Christ himself testified to the fact when He said, “Therefore I tell you her many sins have been forgiven- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little,” (Luke 7:47). If we will examine our former lives when we were under different forms of bondage in sin, certainly, we will transformed us from mere slaves of Satan to His co-heirs of His riches in His kingdom!

If ever there is one basic reason why we should be forever offering thanksgiving to God, it is because of the truth that he saved us from the curse and sure punishment of sin. God could have allowed us suffer from the consequence of our utter disobedience of his will – But he refused. Rather, out of his perfect love and tender mercies, God the Father sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die like a sinner in our place and rose again from the dead so that we who were “once alienated from God” and where his enemies, can enjoy the multitude of blessings of His kingdom!

Like other Christian virtues such as gentleness, perseverance, or temperance, I believe too, that gratitude of thankfulness should also be cultivated and practiced by Christian in order for it to become an integral part of our daily Christian conduct. Christians should abandon the thinking that everything they need to learn about Christian life will be spoon-fed to them in their seats by pastor from pulpit. They don’t have to do anything, much less, find for themselves. But on the contrary, much of what we need to know and acquire in our lives as Christians, we must discover for ourselves with guidance, of course, by the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures.

Thus, Apostle Paul’s admonitions to his son in the faith, Timothy, “have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales rather; train yourself to be godly” (1Timothy 4:7). In fact, one of the uses of the Holy Scriptures is “training in righteousness” so that we may be empowered to serve in the kingdom of God. Needles to say, without our deliberate or intentional effort to understand and learn the ways of God, there is no other way we can serve God in a way pleasing to him. Sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are you works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts! (Psalm 92:1-4). From the experience of the Psalmist, it is clear that it is what God has basically done in his life that made him conclude that “is is good to praise the Lord” and offer to Him music trough stringed instruments. So if we will just awaken our whole being and focus our hearts to the beauty of God’s wondrous works in us, offering to Him praises and thanksgiving will simply become spontaneous and overflowing; like a flowing spring bursting forth from the bottom of our thankful hearts.True thanksgiving shouldn’t be praise or thanksgiving at all – but noise. A din without any sensible meaning or substance to it. God time and again have shown that He has utter disregard and disdain for offerings because God saw their hearts were filled of falsehood. Cain’s offering of animal sacrifice was also turned down by God due to his unpure motives. Saul’s offering of slaves and animals were not acknowledged because of his vain motives.

But Christian are not plain rusty cymbals that require to be hit before they can make any sound. But we are flesh and bones, children of God whose capacity to appreciate God’s works is utmost. Thus, it is no longer needed for us to be constantly asked to give praise offering to God every time we meet together as an assembly. When we praise to the preacher, rather we offer praise offering, because God deserves our unsolicited praise and thanksgiving!

Another important truth that we need to realize is that thanksgiving is not an excess baggage that we can drop anytime if we don’t feel like carrying it. I hope that Christians aren’t considering it akin to something like a “necessary evil” which make us think we don’t necessarily need to do it, but we have to anyway (I hope not!) But given the kind of place it will play in God’s coming kingdom, I believed that worship and thanksgiving should be one of our major preoccupations alongside evangelism and discipleship while we are on the earth! Many times we compromise if not abandon altogether praising and worshiping God if problems come our way. Certainly it takes a lot of faith and trust in God before you can really say “Thanks Lord!” when you’re out of job, or in the brink of financial crisis, but it doesn’t mean that if it is hard we will not do it anymore.

Praising God is a duty of every Christian regardless of his status or situation in life we may be in need, sickness, and depression, given a raise or promoted in job we need to continually offer thanksgiving to God. Our gratitude to God should not depend upon what we feel especially on Sunday mornings or in any other day. But it should be based upon the truth that whatever happens in our lives, god never loses his worth to be given praise and worship. As Christians should always bear in mind that we must worship for who he really is, and who He is alone in our lives.

Job suffered probably more than any person can suffer in his lifetime. His vast properties were devastated. His sons and daughters were killed when the ceiling of their house where they were feasting collapsed on them. Job’s string of miseries didn’t end there. Satan afflicted him with excruciatingly painful sores which affected the righteous man of God “from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7). But amidst these swirling storms in his life Job remained steadfast in his faith and he was even contented to accept the seeming misfortunes which befell on him. “You are talking like foolish women. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” He said rebuking his unbelieving wife.

There are varied Himself to us. Most of time, he reveals Himself to us. Most of the time, He does it through the windows of our daily human experiences. As far as Job was concerned, it was during the most difficult and trying time. Or if in the case of the Samaritan woman Jesus met by the well, God can reveal himself through the most mundane and petty occasions like a casual roadside chat with friend. One of the lessons I learned from my mom is the value of cultivating n awareness about God’s goodness and faithfulness. She often tells me that we her children should always be thankful to whatever blessings that they are our way, no matter how small they are sometimes. Because according to her, in whatever measure, we are still more blessed than the urchins roaming the streets and the physically incapacitated confirmed on wheelchairs.

Looking at her example, I can say that it is not only brokenness, apathy and despair my mom sees every time she is confronted with these kinds of people, but she sees greater than human frailty. It is God’s amazing grace and timeless faithfulness to us His children amidst the world’s decay and hopelessness. Trial and difficult seasons or even good times come our way. But let us remember that they don’t come our way without a divine purpose. They have and God uses these experiences, difficult it may seem at times, to reveal himself to us. Before true worship can be achieved, it is very important that we must first be confronted with the fact of who God is and who we are before Him.

By Ptr. Jonathan Ferriol

Taken from The Word Issue 33

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