Always—Give—Thanks

 

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There is nothing like a magnifying glass in the hands of a rambunctious child. On a sunny day, he may use it to focus the sun’s radiation, and give ants the hot foot. He may concentrate the beam on garden snails, causing them to froth and quicken their sluggish pace. (I am not advocating this, but have heard of some mischievous boys who have done it!) With a magnifying glass, he may set paper afire or burn his initials on a piece of wood. The same lad with that amazing piece of convex lens can examine objects very closely, seeing details invisible to his natural eyes. Of course, the magnifying glass does not change the size of the object scrutinized, it just enlarges the visual image of the object in view. The magnifying glass makes things appear larger to the viewer, revealing details that were hidden.

When we magnify God, the thing that is changed is our view, understanding, love and appreciation of Him. He is the same—He doesn’t change. He is perfect—He doesn’t need to improve. He is complete—He needs nothing else. But when we magnify Him, our perspective of Him—our view of Him—is enhanced and enlarged. As we focus on who He is, what He is like, what He has done, and what He plans to do, our appreciation of Him is enriched. Our view of Him is expanded. Our lives will be blessed if we magnify the Lord. King David wrote, “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3). The more we learn of His person and character, the more valuable the Lord will become in our lives.

One important way we magnify God is by giving genuine thanks to Him. The psalmist David wrote, “I will praise the name of God with song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30, 31). The prescribed way to magnify God is to give private and corporate thanks to Him! Offering God sincere thanks when you are alone or with others, glorifies Him, and displays the work and person of God to others and to you. These verses teach that when His people practice genuine thanksgiving, it magnifies God far better than giving offerings and sacrifices. God prefers your praise and gratitude to the money in your wallet.

This practice of praise, appreciation and thanksgiving to God ought to be continual. The Lord is so wonderful and merciful that thanks should never cease to be expressed from our hearts and lips. We should be thankful to God, no matter what circumstances we are in. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians that, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Do you want to do God’s will? Begin by being grateful and thankful all the time.

As you observe Thanksgiving this week, why not stop and count your blessings? Thanksgiving is more than a national holiday. It should not just be a day to eat turkey and watch football.

The first American Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621, celebrated by the pilgrim colonists and neighboring Native Americans, came about because the Pilgrims desired to specifically thank God for His bounty and care of them. Their first winter in America had been harsh, resulting in the death of almost half the settlers at Plymouth Rock. But the following spring and summer produced a bountiful harvest. Quite naturally, those God-fearing people declared a special holy day and season of thanksgiving to God. There was no menu of deep-fried turkey at their feast, but they had enough venison, corn and vegetables for their three-day celebration.

The annual custom of celebrating Thanksgiving after the fall harvest continued through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. President George Washington signed a Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789, that read in part:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor …we recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God ….That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks.”

There is a tendency for people to seek God in humility and thanksgiving when difficult times come upon them. That was true with the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving. It was true of Jonah, who cried to God from the belly of the great fish, “I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:9). And it may be true of you as well. Offering thanks to God is the right response to tough times.

This Thanksgiving be sure to remember God and His abundant blessing and protection and thank Him for it. Thursday, as your family or friends gather around your table, why not stop, hold hands, and lead in a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to your God, Creator and Savior? This is what Thanksgiving is about!

Let’s follow the Psalmist’s encouragement to, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:4, 5).

I pray that your Thanksgiving celebration honors your Lord, strengthens your family and energizes your service to Him. Remember: It magnifies God when we give Him thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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