Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:20
As we enter the month of November and near the holiday we call Thanksgiving, I am reminded that every day in the life of a Christian should be a day of thanksgiving.
The scripture says it very clearly in Ephesians 5:20. The verse answers three important questions about thankfulness: when, what, and to whom.
When do we give thanks? ALWAYS.
For what do we give thanks? ALL THINGS.
To whom do we give thanks? GOD.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is not just a catch phrase. It’s not just a good idea, although it is. It is a commandment of scripture. We are to give thanks to God always, for everything.
There is a well-known story about the famous bible commentator Matthew Henry having his wallet stolen. While there’s debate about the accuracy of how Henry was quoted, the story is a good illustration either way. It’s said that after he was robbed, Henry thanked God in his diary for four things: that he had never been robbed before; that they took his wallet only and not his life; that he didn’t have much in his wallet to be stolen; and, that he was the one who was robbed and not the one robbing.
An attitude of thanksgiving helps us put any situation into the right perspective.
In Luke, we are given a great example of thankfulness to God in the beautiful story of ten lepers cleansed by Jesus. It’s a familiar story, and there is much we can analyze and learn from it. But focusing just on the idea of thankfulness, let’s look at what the one leper out of ten did to show thankfulness.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks…” (Luke 17:15-16)
First, he wasn’t quiet with his praise. He didn’t slip Jesus a note. He didn’t whisper his appreciation. He cried with a loud voice, glorifying God! Like this man, we should be willing to proclaim the goodness of God in a way that others can see and hear.
Secondly, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, with his face to the ground. This was a scene of complete humility. When we give thanks, it must be done with the attitude that God alone is worthy of thanks for every good thing, and it is nothing of ourselves.
Teaching on this passage, Charles Spurgeon said, “External religious exercises are easy enough, and common enough; but the internal matter, the drawing out of the heart in thankful love, how scarce a thing it is!”
My prayer, in this season of thankfulness and all the time, is that the “drawing out of the heart in thankful love” will not be a scarce thing in my life. I pray the Holy Spirit will prompt us all to live in a state of continual thanksgiving.
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