Thanksgiving

by Pastor John Kim

The Thanksgiving holiday will have passed by but a day shouldn’t pass when we don’t give thanks. I have often found that I am forgetful when it comes to being thankful, as I often tend to dwell on what is negative. The grumbling and complaining that comes when the focus is on me and what I feel entitled to doesn’t seem to diminish until I take my eyes off of myself and consider how I should be thankful to God. If we recognize that all we have been given is by the grace of God, we should then know that we are not entitled to anything but have been granted mercy.

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

This passage should really challenge you because when you look at all that you have, do you really understand that it has all been given to you by a gracious God? There is nothing that we have that we deserve. This is sometimes hard to really grasp because we live as if we merit what we own. It is because we give ourselves way too much credit. We think that by our own efforts we prove that we are deserving of what we have, when in fact, we must consider that as sinners who have defied God, we are only deserving of condemnation, no matter how hard we try to be righteous on our own.

We often show how arrogant we are by boasting as if we had not received what we have been given. By doing this we remove God from His rightful place and we promote ourselves as if we were able to generate the merit apart from God’s grace. This is to reduce the greatness of God and be self-promoting.

So how do we combat this foolishness in our hearts? By dwelling on the eternal greatness of God.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 136:1-3) Notice in the first three verses of this psalm, it starts off with the imperative to give thanks to the Lord. To give thanks is not optional or negotiable. It is an issue of obedience. What we must also consider carefully is that we are to give thanks to the Lord, not to myself, not to anyone else. But why do we give thanks? Each verse focuses on the greatness of God’s character. We can give thanks to God because He is good. His goodness will never waver or change. We can trust that our God will always be good and will always work out all things for good.

Each verse mentions that God’s lovingkindness is everlasting. It is pretty noteworthy if it is mentioned three consecutive verses in conjunction with other descriptions of God. His lovingkindness especially stands out when we consider that it is both His love and kindness that are joined in an expression that really communicates the tenderness of God’s affections. Lastly, we see His greatness referenced by the terms “God of gods” and “Lord of lords” – our God is not to be seen as anything less that the ultimate sovereign authority over all things.

The Scriptures, especially the Psalms, give us abundant reminders to be thankful. Let us not reduce thanksgiving to one time of the year, but as the apostle Paul challenges us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” May each day find you responding with thanksgiving as you dwell on the goodness and greatness of God.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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