The Importance of Thanksgiving
By Emerald Barnes, Author of the Entertaining Angels series
We're entering into a time of thanksgiving here in the United States with Thanksgiving coming up November 24. We celebrate the pilgrims and the reasons why they voyaged to the United States, but that's not what I want to focus on. I want to focus on what thanksgiving means in the Kingdom.
According to Google, the definition of Thanksgiving is, "the expression of gratitude, especially to God."
Honestly, I was surprised by the "especially to God" part, because I think it's something that we as believers tend to forget. At least, we forget to realize how important giving thanks is. Out of curiosity, I searched the word "thanksgiving" in the Bible, and so many Bible verses popped out to me, verses that I honestly hadn't paid close attention to, but it occurred to me how important giving thanks was to God.
Imagine your child coming up to you and demanding you give them something. What is your response? "What's the magic word?" "Please." Then you hand your child what they've asked for, and you want a response, a 'thank you'. We expect it of our children, but we tend to forget how important it is for us to say "Thank you," in response to God.
I can't remember where I heard this, but it was from a preacher at one of my previous churches. He said that we should always start our prayers off with thanksgiving, thanking God for what He's done and what He's going to do. After that, I tried not to say a prayer that didn't have a thank you somewhere in it.
We don't need to be like a child who doesn't say 'thank you' to our Father who's pleasure it is to give us our hearts desire. A heart of thanksgiving really goes a long way. In fact, Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." God's Word gives us an example of how to pray, and we pray with thanksgiving.
There are many Psalms that tell us to come before God with thanksgiving. Here are a few:
Psalm 50:14 (NKJV) Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High.
Psalm 107:22 (NKJV) Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.
Psalm 95:2 (NKJV) Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psalm 116:17 (NKJV) I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.
Even Leviticus has a very similar verse. "And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will." (22:29)
Every one of these verses tells us to offer up thanksgiving; some verses call thanksgiving sacrifices and offerings. And both sacrifices and offerings are what we owe God. It's important to our prayer life and our Christian life to thank our Father for the things He does for us.
But why? God put it to me this way not long ago, "The devil is always the loudest when we're the quietest." When we aren't thanking God and praising Him, the devil gets in. He uses his mind tricks to bring us down, but when we give thanks to God, we don't have time to listen to the devil. It's like our church always says, "Praise stops the enemy in his tracks," and that praise includes thanksgiving.
This holiday season, let's not forget how important it is to give thanks to our heavenly Father. After all, He is the One who you can trust the most, who has your best interests at heart, and will never let you down. He gives us the desires of our hearts and loves us without fail. I would say that He deserves thanksgiving for simply being amazing.