Christians, Lead the “Thanksgiving Parade!”
Scripture: 1 Thess. 5:18
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”
Of all God’s creatures, Christians are the most thankful. As a result, we set the example for the rest of the world to follow by our thanksgiving and praise to God. Why are Christians so thankful?
First, Christians are thankful because of God’s kind gift of grace, love, and mercy to us when we were dead in trespasses and sins. It was His grace that created within us the desire to repent of our sins and to put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As a result, God made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:1-5).
Then He raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him n the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6). He also sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13). We now have a living hope of sharing in Christ’s resurrection and receiving “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” for us (1 Pet. 1:3-4).
Second, Christians are leaders in giving thanks because of what God is presently doing in their lives and through their prayers. As a matter of fact, Christians make thanksgiving a primary ingredient of each day.
As Paul reminds us, Christians are to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thess. 5:16). We are to give thanks “always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). Christians understand that thanksgiving is not based upon a feeling of thankfulness.
Rather, it is the exercise of our will in obedience to God’s Word. We give thanks always because God commands us to do so. David understood this when he said,
“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psa. 34:1).
Again, the Psalmist reminds us that
“from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the LORD’S name is to be praised” (Psa. 113:3).
The writer to the Hebrews urges Christians everywhere to give audible expressions of their praise:
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb. 13:15).
If you are not one of the leaders of the “thanksgiving parade,” read carefully and prayerfully the following Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to kindle a thankful attitude within you.
- 1 Timothy 2:1 — I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
- 1 Chronicles 16:8 — Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
- Psalm 30:4 — Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
- Psalm 79:13 — So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
- Psalm 92:1 — It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
- Psalm 105:1 — O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
- Psalm 106:1 — Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
- Psalm 106:47 — Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
- Psalm 119:62 — At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
- Psalm 140:13 — Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
- 1 Corinthians 15:57 — But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 2:14 — Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
- Colossians 3:17 — And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
- Revelation 4:9 — And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever…
- Revelation 11:17 — Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
One of the major events the Apostle John reveals about the angels, the living creatures, and the elders who are around God’s throne is their enthusiastic singing and praising of God. Listen to what John tells us he saw:
“And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders;
and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing’” (Rev. 5:11-12).
Let’s join with the heavenly hosts that continually offer praise and thanksgiving to God! Here are some suggestions for the focus of our continual thanksgiving:
God is our burden bearer (Psa. 55:22)
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
God is our protector (Psa. 23:4)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
God is our counselor (Psa. 16:7)
I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
God is our defender (Psa. 5:11)
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
God is generous (Psa. 13:6)
I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
God is our leader and feeder (Psa. 23:2)
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
God heals our broken hearts (Psa. 147:3)
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
God is the source of our joy (Psa. 16:11)
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
God is our rest (Psa. 37:7)
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
God is our sustainer (Psa. 3:5)
I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
Give thanks for what God has done in the past and what He is presently doing. Thank God for His wonderful work in your life. The list of things for which we can be thankful, and ought to be thankful, should be growing daily.
Remember, Christians are to take the lead in the “thanksgiving parade!”
A final note: If that list becomes faint in your mind when the devil tries to bring in discouragement, make a written list and keep it on the fridge or on your desk. Since God inhabits the praise of His people, He draws near in encouragement when we praise Him!
Dr. Allan P. Brown teaches such courses as Christian Beliefs, Doctrine of Holiness, Wisdom Literature, Hebrew, Preaching Holiness, Romans and Galatians, and Letters to the Hebrews.
He has been on faculty at GBSC since 1996 and is the author of several books and articles.
Dr. Brown also speaks at churches, camp meetings, revivals and more.