Have you ever thought about the radical reasons why Christians are to be the most thankful people in all of the world? So often, Christians fall into the trap that Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate rather than a discipline to practice every day. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with setting aside the fourth Thursday of the month of November to give thanks to the God of heaven for all that He has done. But the radical reasons for why it is good and right for us as a nation to set aside a day for thanksgiving are also the reasons why thanksgiving ought to be an identifying mark of every believer in Jesus Christ. The radical roots for why we give thanks have been practiced in America, but those roots originated in the Holy Scriptures.
One radical reason for why thanksgiving should be a regular habit of the believer’s life is the character of God. Psalm 105:1 is one of the many Scriptures that pro-claim, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures for-ever.” The verse is clear: give thanks be-cause the LORD is good! And the good character of God is seen in His mercy that endures forever. The logical result of considering and meditating on God’s goodness and mercy is thanksgiving. If you are seeking to become a more thankful person, get your eyes off of your changing circumstance and gaze on the unchanging character of God. As you delight in His goodness and mercy, your life will resound with thanksgiving to God.
This leads to another radical reason for Thanksgiving: the Son of God. You see, because God is a good and merciful God,He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world to die on the cross for our sins. The cross becomes a powerful dis-play of the goodness and mercy of God! Paul wrote about this great gift of God by saying, “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor that you through His poverty might be-come rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). And then Paul concludes that section on giving with these words, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
A final radical reason to give thanks to the Lord is the will of God. “In every-thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The word “will” gives the idea of what one wishes or what one takes pleasure in. Consider for a moment that God’s desire for the believers’ life is for them to give thanks. And if we are not giving thanks in everything, then we are not fulfilling the will of God.
But notice the last two words of the verse describing who this principle applies to; It is the believers in Christ Jesus who are to be giving thanks. You see, it is believers who know that the character of God is good and mercy. It is believers who know that the Son of God became poor so that we might become rich. So it is believers who can give thanks no matter the circumstances that they are facing. And as a result, they can fulfill the very will and pleasure of God. To fulfill the will of God is a radical reason to give thanks to the Lord.