by Pastor Ken
One of my favorite times of the year is at hand: Thanksgiving. It is a time to turn our hearts to God for all of the blessings He has given us. In fact, every good gift and every perfect gift is from Him (James 1.17). God has blessed us in that every physical need has been met (Matthew 7.9-11). More importantly, we have been blessed with everything that we need spiritually. In 2 Peter 1.3-4a, the apostle Peter writes, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises.” Those who are united with Christ have need of nothing. This is why Paul can write about a Spirit filled believer as “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5.20; Colossians 3.17).
There are certainly many things I can give thanks for. I must confess, when I think of things to be thankful for, I do not first think of people. I am rebuked by Paul’s words over and over again. He repeated thanks to God for other believers (1 Cor. 1.4; Eph. 1.16; Phil. 1.3; Col. 1.3; 1 Thess. 1.2).
How can we cultivate thanksgiving in our lives? Our church? Our families? I think Paul’s perspective is insightful. His thankfulness is not a tip of the hat acknowledgement or obligatory act of obedience. His thankfulness is directed to God for the grace that He has given to believers. Paul’s divine perspective shaped his attitude toward others; he understood that other believers were called by God (1 Cor. 1.2). In fact, Paul can give thanks for the church in Corinth because he was more aware of their calling by God than their current failings. Furthermore, not only can I give thanks to God for saving other believers, but I also can give thanks for His promise to be faithful to them.
Make acts of thanksgiving real. Identify evidences of grace in others. See how the Spirit is working in others as they serve and the fruit of the Spirit manifests itself in others. Give God glory and communicate thankfulness to God for other believers. We can be creative in ways to express thanksgiving in our families, but the expression will only be genuine if God works in your hearts to have the proper perspective.