Giving Thanks; November 16, 2017

Psalm 105:1-4 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.

When you get going reading this Psalm, it’s hard to stop! (I really wanted to go through verse seven just for this quote.) That’s because we were created to praise God, and it really feels good to do so. When we unite in praise and thanks our hearts do rejoice, just as it says in verse three. Giving God credit for His goodness is an excellent method of evangelism. Generally when we speak of “acts of God,” we are talking about natural disasters, from lightning strikes to earthquakes to tsunami and the like. We need to recognize that all the good stuff comes from Him too, and focus on that. James reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) Remembering that goes a long way toward putting us on the right footing with God. When we recognize God’s goodness and talk about it to others, they are drawn to seek Him themselves. We all have a naturally selfish bent, wanting to know “What’s in it for me.” When we realize that everything we really want comes from God, then we will seek Him! The problem is, most people don’t realize the truth of James’ statement, and seek security, pleasure, peace, and everything else in all sorts of different ways. What we need to realize ourselves, and then communicate to others, is that any other avenue of getting those things is at best secondary, just a tool God uses to bless us, and often enough is a complete illusion. The more God opens our eyes to see His goodness, His abundance, the more we need to tell others about it as well.

I was taught to express thanks from childhood, and I’m grateful. We weren’t raised with Santa Claus, for example, but with the understanding that every gift, Christmas or otherwise, came from someone, and we were to express thanks for it. That prepared me for discovering praise as connected to worship back in the early ’70s. I have sought to make this a praising, worshiping, praying church, but with mixed results. Some people have caught the vision, and many have not. I’m not to give up! We have a tradition now of decorating the building for Christmas the last Sunday before Advent and then having a Thanksgiving dinner. People are always thankful for good food! This is an opportunity for us to express our thanks to one another and to God, but it should not be so unique in the Church year. As this Psalm says, I need to encourage everyone to recognize God’s blessings to them throughout the year and proclaim them in thanks and praise to Him, so that others may know that He exists and that He is good indeed.

Father, I know that You wanted me to speak on this Sunday, and here you’ve practically dumped the notes in my lap! Thank You. Help me express Your goodness in such a way that people will both expect good things from You and recognize them when You give them, overflowing in thanks and praise, not only for Your glory but so that many more will be drawn to You as well, for a great harvest. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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