For several years I’ve daily offered this prayer: “Lord, you have given me so many things, give me one more thing; give me a thankful heart!” Psalm 100 is aptly called the Thanksgiving Psalm as it highlights gratitude as the attitude with which we approach God. We “from all lands,” once lost, are now found and welcomed into his presence! (v.1) We are exhorted to come. know, bless and show… gratitude in our soul and gladness in our service (v.2). This literary masterpiece is grounded in and stems out of God’s attributes – His goodness created us and grace recreated us as “his people” and “sheep of his care”! (v.3, 5)
Our family visited Plymouth, MA and the May Flower ship to explored the 1620 voyage and settlement of “the Pilgrims” (Heb. 11:13). Governor Bradford on Thurs, Nov. 29th, 1623 summoned these “separatists with their families to the meeting house on the hill to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.” In 1863 Abraham Lincoln made another proclamation amidst a dreadful war. He invited fellow Americans and all “sojourning in foreign lands to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving our beneficial Father.” That’s more than US history. It is a great truth in that, like the first pilgrims, we must be anxious for nothing, prayerful in everything and thankful for anything!
Some theology, history, now the practicality of thanksgiving: We are urged to give thanks for and in everything. Here’s the top 3 on my “Thanksgiving List”:
1. Salvation: First and eternally I’m indebted to God’s indescribable Gift– Jesus! (2Cor. 9:15) I hail from India, land of many religions, but the world has only one Savior! I’m keenly aware of my inadequacy without him and invincibility with him. (v.8-12). I’m thankful for the gift of his Spirit (Acts 2: 38). With Jesus I’ve been freely given all things for Life and godliness, richly to enjoy (Rom. 8:33).
2. Spouse: Next, my wife, true to her name Dorothy (Gk. = Gift of God) has been my best friend and most valuable critic over 22 years! She is the priceless treasure I found or rather God gave me (Prov. 18:22): virtuous, hardworking (31) my Joy and crown (19:14). She has met my needs and God has “gifted” us with two godly children. Our home is full of grace (Charis) and truth (Alethea). These gifts are “on loan” from God (Psa. 127) and an encouragement as I age!
3. Supporters: Not the least, YOU are God’s gift to me! I thank him for giving me a friend and fellow-laborer in mission. I prefer one person working with me than a hundred working for me. The best way to find such a friend is to be one! The prerequisites for supportive friendship are (a) genuine interest (b) active participation (Prov.18:24; 27:10). Life’s best gifts are not things but relationship and I cherish our missional partnership! From my heart, full of gratitude! – Chris