Hopefully the stress and frustration of Black Friday has not already sent the sense of thanksgiving that so many experienced and expressed just yesterday into oblivion. In a land and society in which so many have so much to be thankful for, all too often more importance is placed on getting what we want that we don’t already have than on recognizing the blessings of those things we already do have. Some have mentioned that Black Friday being the day after “Thanksgiving” is somewhat ironic in that the day after we give thanks for all that we have, we stand in lines and even fight over things that we want. The fact is, we need to keep the spirit of being thankful to God for our many blessings throughout the entire year. A song that we sometimes sing speaks of counting our many blessings. Needless to say, one could never complete that endeavor. However, we wish to consider that for which we should ever be thankful to God for in just four general areas or realms.
First, we need to thank God for giving us something to live on. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” (Exo. 20:11). David wrote, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The foul of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:3-8).Thus we are speaking of being thankful for all the physical blessings of this life. James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). The psalmist said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19). And the wise man wrote, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God” (Ecc. 3:13). Time would fail us to list all that for which we should be thankful in just this one realm.
Secondly, we need to thank God for giving us something to live by. David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). One can observe the earth and all the beauty and order and know that there is a God in heaven, there is a creator. But, one cannot know what the will of that God is without it being revealed to him. Paul wrote, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:9-13). Thank God we have His instructions for life on earth in written form that we might know the truth that will make us free.
Thirdly, we need to thank God for giving us something to live for. It was the apostle Paul that said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19). But there is more! Job asked, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job. 14:14). The answer to Job’s question is yes. Paul said, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:53). “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Cor. 5:1). Jesus gave assurance to His apostles when He told them, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
And finally, we need to thank God for giving us something to live with. We do not travel through this life alone. God has given us the institution of marriage (Gen. 2:24) and the whole of the family system that those of this nation have followed until relatively recent times. We are surrounded by family and also friends who help us through the trials and sufferings of this life. And. don’t forget that we have our spiritual family which are certainly a great blessing. Indeed, we need to give thanks to God every day of the year for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us! (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.