Core scripture: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)
Message: There are so many things to be grateful for. So many ways to give thanks. God has lavished so many blessings upon me, and I know He has upon you as well. This week of Thanksgiving we get the opportunity to give God the glory for all He does in our lives. As the psalmist declares above, the Lord is good, and His steadfast love endures for all eternity. As I reflect on that truth, I think about the different types of thanks I should be giving.
- Give thanks radically. A true Christian praises God no matter what the circumstance, through the good times and the bad. I am reminded of the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:16-40. They were imprisoned in a dungeon, yet they let their voices ring out in songs of praise. They saw it a privilege to suffer for Jesus. We should do likewise. As Paul says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). I suppose that means I should be thanking God for testing my patience with some of my gems near the end of the day.
- Give thanks passionately. Passionate thanks goes out to everything on the other side of the fence. These are things we cling to. A devoted friend. A supportive family. A certain class that just gets it. This is a week to share passionate thanks with those loved ones. My students are writing Thanksgiving thank you letters today. The full five paragraphs. That is passionate thanks! I cannot wait until they give those letters to their friends and family. This thanks goes beyond the typical. It magnifies God’s love a hundredfold. Paul does exactly this in Philippians 4:1 when he writes, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Be that love to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Give thanks humbly. Humble thanks goes out to all the stuff we take for granted. Our houses. Our jobs. Clothes to wear. Food to eat. A bed to sleep on. Air condition. A car to get me from point A to point B. I rarely ever smile at the Lord and praise God for these things, but it should not be that way. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” I am humbled how good God is to provide all these blessings. Make a list of them. Call each one out to God, one by one, thanking Him for the things we sometimes overlook.
Raise your hands in praise this week. Show God’s love to your students, your colleagues, your administration. Give thanks to the small roles in our buildings that others might take for granted. A lunch lady. A custodian. A secretary. A paraprofessional. A crossing guard. When we show gratefulness, we show others who Jesus Christ is.
Challenge: Spend some time in prayer this week thinking about people who deserve your thanks. Go out of your way to tell them through a written note, a shared meal, or however God calls you to display gratitude.
Song application: “All I Can Do” by Mikeschair
All I can do is thank You
For this life I never deserved
Wanna thank You for the grace
I know I don’t have to earn
You love me, You love me
Your mercy is proof
All I can do is say thank You
All I can do is say thank You
Prayer: Father, we give thanks to You radically, passionately, and humbly. Let our gratitude reflect Your glory to everyone we see this week. Amen.
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