Happy Thanksgiving, TD Family!
2020 has been a year that many of us have found difficult to give thanks in. But could our lack of gratitude be one of the reasons God has ordained COVID-19 to slow us all down this year? Truth be told, weren’t our hearts just as discontent in 2019? And in 2018? Could it be that God has suspended all the “extras” that we take for granted and assume are our rights to have, in order to reduce us to gratitude for the very biggest, most essential, most valuable, most generous, and most miraculous? Namely, precious life itself?
I ask you to pause long enough today to give God, the generous Giver of Life Himself, one of the greatest gifts you can – the gift of time. Please take the time to read and act on this Thanksgiving devotion. You’ll be glad you did – and so will He! – Arthur
Let’s take advantage of this day instituted by President Lincoln, who during the civil war, proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” and use it for the Lord’s honor!
How? The Bible tells us how: “In everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:18
Did you catch the significance of that? There aren’t too many places in Scripture that explicitly state, “This is God’s will for you,” so when it does, we need to take notice.
And what is God asking of us? Simply, to give thanks to Him everywhere, all the time. To be a walking “thanks dispenser,” if you will. Notice that He’s not calling us to have a grateful heart, though that is implicitly necessary. He’s calling us to go further than that to actually express thanks. Friends, He’s telling us that it WILL bless His heart! Think about it! God is explicitly telling us that it will bless His heart!
Wow. This was brought home to me many years ago as my own heart was blessed. The lesson has never left me since. Let me explain via some thoughts I penned then:
“We arrived home from DC late last night. Of the many things on my to-do list this morning, I wanted to update the TD website and write this devotion, which I am now doing. A few minutes ago, I went to take a “bathroom break” and there on my sink counter, to my surprise, were two hand-cut, hand-drawn, hand-made cards with pictures and drawings of Washington DC on them and the words, “Thank You So Much!” I opened them up and inscribed within were deep heart-felt expressions of thanks from my two youngest children, Daniel and Angela, for taking them and for caring for them on our trip.
Sandra and I had heard some activity down the hallway early this morning while we were still asleep but didn’t think much of it. Now, I get it. Those two woke up before anyone else did and the first thing they did was to get busy to find a creative way to give us thanks. Had they already expressed verbal thanks to us earlier? They sure did, but they wanted to take it further to express their gratitude and to bless our hearts. And they did. My heart melted with appreciation and love for them. I went downstairs and gave them big, big hugs and kisses. Sometimes, little ones teach us the biggest lessons.
I think of how God’s heart has been blessed when His children have taken the extra time to write poetry, hymns, and songs to say thank you to Him; when they’ve carved out larger amounts of time in their lives to harness their skills and talents to painstakingly produce offerings to Him (whether visually, audibly, or tangibly) as an expression of their thanks to Him. I’m sure, in His own providential yet personal way, He gave them His “hugs” and “kisses,” for our Father will not be outgiven.”
Here are a couple of suggestions for you to bless your Father’s heart this month (I’m sure you can think of more):
- Count your blessings, name them one by one – make a list of everything God wants you to be thankful for. Then give Him thanks for each one. Be specific and make it heart-felt. Notice I didn’t ask you to list things and people you ARE thankful for. Of course, that’s important but sometimes there are things and people we really ought to be thankful for that we don’t feel thankful for.
- Produce something extra special for Him as a way of saying thanks. Make Him a card, write Him a song or poem, paint or draw Him a picture, practice playing a song for Him on your instrument, etc. Whatever you’re gifted in or trained in, use your skill for His honor in an extra special way for Him this month.
- Make it a special point to “acknowledge Him” (Prov. 3:6) ALL day, EVERY day – audibly, silently, through singing, journaling, etc. We need to realize that God is actually with us all day, everyday. So, make a special effort to develop your everyday relationship and conversation with Him. 1Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” This is what that means. Always be relating with Him, including Him in your activities and conversations, as well as in your rest. Relate with Him without ceasing. You’ll both be blessed.
- Express actual thanks to those God has used to bless you. Expressions of thanks go a long way for those who receive them. Go ahead and surprise them with a simple thank you for being your friend, sibling, or parent. Even though it may not be your “style,” it’s God’s style, and we all represent Him much better when we’re thankful. “As I grew older God continued to prepare my heart and teach me to seek Him. One of the first lessons that I have learnt was not to take things for granted. I had that wake up call around the age of twelve and realized just how much I was blessed with. I take my foot for granted, my family and the fact that I wasn’t born in a third world country all blessings that God had freely given and I still complain?” – Nick Vujicic (born with no arms and legs)
The Irony of It
The actual giving of thanks to God and others forces us to realize how blessed we are and how so much of that blessing had nothing to do with us deserving it. That then leaves us humble, and humble people are the ones God uses and blesses most, for “Blessed are the (humble), for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5)
So, leave it to God to instruct us to do something that seems to be for His benefit, but in actuality it benefits us! That’s our Father. Thank you, God!