- Saying Thanksby Pastor Tim Gibson
Why is it so hard to say “Thank you!”? Saying “thank you” was one of the first lessons my godly mother taught me. We had to write thank you cards to anyone who gave us anything. I remember sitting for hours and writing thank you cards to friends and family who gave me high school graduation gifts. Being grateful may be one of the most important lessons in our lives. Saying thanks should be a natural part of our everyday life.
Thanksgiving is the overflow of our hearts. When someone does something nice for us, gratitude should flow from our hearts, out of our mouths like a bubbling well. When a volcano has lava built up inside, it inevitably spews out. The same is true of thanksgiving. If gratitude is truly in our hearts, it will inevitably bubble out of our mouths. The outward expression from our lips gives an indication that our hearts are humble and right. When words are absent, it may indicate that our hearts are hard and full of pride.
Scripture is clear that giving thanks to God is one of the evidences of being a true Christian and that our hearts are right with God. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:21, that the unbelieving world does not “honor God as God or give thanks to him.” The world receives blessings from God every moment of every day. God continually pours out His common grace on all of mankind by granting breath and life. He provides rain. He sustains the universe with the power of His hand. And yet the unbelieving world refuses to say thanks to God. This is illustrated clearly in a miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). These ten lepers knew that their only hope was to beg Jesus to have mercy on them. Out of love and mercy for them, Jesus healed every one of them. Sadly, only one of them returned to Jesus to say thanks. The gratitude in his heart bubbled over and caused him to fall on his face before Jesus and praise God and give thanks to Jesus. Of course, Jesus recognized that there were nine missing who did not return to say thanks. We aren’t told why they didn’t return to give thanks but we can draw conclusions. For sure they felt deserving of the mercy and healing of Jesus. These nine may not have recognized it in their own heart, but it was out of pride that they failed to say thanks. Their hearts were not right with God. However, Jesus said of the one who thanked him, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” Jesus affirmed that this man’s heart was right. The simple fact that this man said thanks to Jesus indicated a deep faith and trust in Jesus.
Thanksgiving should be extravagant. It should be easy to thank God for all the good things that He gives us. God has given us so many good things, the greatest of which is salvation. If you have received the great gift of salvation that has come to you by grace through faith in Christ, gratitude should not just be bubbling out of your heart, but also exploding out of your mouth. As the Apostle Paul considered the great gift of God’s salvation he couldn’t help but say, “thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor 9:15). When Paul says that the gift of salvation from God is indescribable he is saying that it is overwhelmingly and incomparably good. In other words, there is no greater gift. It seems logical that the greater the gift, the greater the gratitude. It is one thing to say a simple thank you for the small things people do for us. But when someone is overwhelmingly sacrificial and moves the world to do something for us, it would not be out of place to jump up and down and shout and rejoice! No one in their right mind would be silent. God so loved the world that He gave His Son Jesus to die in the place of sinners, that whoever believes in Jesus could have eternal life! That truth should cause our hearts to be full and should bring about the greatest celebration of thanksgiving. Because we have received the greatest gift possible from God in Christ our thanksgiving should be extravagant. How have you extravagantly thanked God?
Make thanksgiving a habit. We are about to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. But we shouldn’t relegate thanksgiving to a single day. Thanksgiving should be the habit of our life. We should get into the habit of saying thanks to others around us, and especially God on a regular basis. This shouldn’t be drudgery to us. It should be the natural overflow of our hearts. Take stock of your life. Are you continually thanking others around you for how they have blessed your life? Are you thankful to God for His great salvation in your life?
Maybe you don’t know about the great gift of salvation that God provides. If you need help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. I would love to share with you the details of God’s indescribable gift. I know it will change your life forever.