This is the season when many Americans celebrate what has come to be known as Thanksgiving. For the sake of brevity, I will not rehash what the history and symbolism of this holiday are, but it is commonly held that this is the day that we give thanks for our many blessings.
I, for one, do not think a single day is sufficient to express gratitude. Furthermore, I do not think it is enough to thank him for the things He has blessed us with.
The Apostle, Paul, said it this way:
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; (1 Corinthians 1:4)
King David rendered it thusly:
O give thanks unto the LORD: for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever (1 Chronicles 16:34).
In other words, we are to give thanks to God simply because He is good. The correct perspective for the Disciple of Christ is to focus on the Love and Grace of the Giver, not the gift! America, in contrast to much of the world, enjoys a higher standard of prosperity than any other nation. As a result, we have become spoiled — we want bigger and better, and we want it now. Because of our lusts for material things and creature comforts, an entire ministry segment has emerged that caters to the materialistic mentality. This segment proffers that if you simply exercise faith and worship God with your money, God will respond as if He were a “blessing genie” and indulge you with all your material wants.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is crystal clear that material blessing is part of the believer’s benefits package:
Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant (Psalm 35:27).
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Did you catch that? Prosperity! Abundance! And the Bible tells us that all of God’s promises are “YES” and “AMEN” in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20).
That’s a “Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus” moment!
But I digress. There are exactly 29 occurrences of the word “thanksgiving” in the King James Bible. And while the Bible clearly teaches us that thanksgiving is an act that believers perform to honor God, the Word teaches us that there is a higher, unsaid act that, I think, should be the hallmark of any Disciple of Christ:
Thanksliving is a paradigm shift from world or religious living to Kingdom, Grace, and relationship living! I have long held, and teach relentlessly, that you cannot do something without first being something. My prime example of this is the passage of scripture, “be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). You cannot do holy without being holy. And, frankly, you cannot do anything holy without first being in Christ, because Jesus is the source of both holiness and righteousness.
That said, we must be grateful in order to live a Christ-like life. We must reflect God’s unconditional Love and Grace! We must have an attitude of gratitude! And our gratitude can no more be a once-a-year expression than our worship can be a once-a-week event. We should be grateful for all the blessings bestowed upon us in the new birth: salvation, deliverance, healing, and prosperity!
The life of Thanksliving is a life of thanksgiving. You cannot truly live without loving and you cannot truly love without giving! Therefore, a grateful life is a giving life. I’m not talking about feigned or coerced giving, but giving as Jesus taught in Luke 6:38:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
or how the Apostle Paul rendered it in 2 Corinthians 9:7:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
So we see that the concepts of Thanksliving and thanksgiving go hand-in-hand, joined by love and giving. But there’s another component to the life of thanksgiving that cannot be ignored: joy.
Joy and happiness are similar but are not the same. Happiness is conditional, based on circumstances; the more favorable the circumstances, the happier a person generally is. Joy, on the other hand, is a choice. You must choose to have joy! Joy is that feeling of peace and confidence that abides in the heart of every true Disciple of Christ.
That peace and confidence that comprises joy persists in spite of circumstances! If you have a new car, you have joy. If your old car breaks down, you have joy. If you have a great career that allows you to work in your God-given purpose, you have joy. If your stuck in a dead-end job, you have joy! When you choose to have joy, you can focus on the source of your joy and not circumstances. When you have joy, you focus on the Giver, not the gift. When you choose joy, you love in spite of how you perceive how you’re treated. When joy abides in you, you give, not because you expect to receive anything, but because you want to reflect Jesus, who gave His life for you.
If you get this down in your spirit, you will experience Thanksliving daily and won’t have to wait for a special day to give thanks!
© 2011/2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)