So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever;
We will show forth Your praise to all generations.
– Psalm 79:13
The word “practice” according to Merriam-Webster.com includes in its definition to “carry out, apply”, “to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually”, and “to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient.” The Lord makes abundantly clear in His Word from start to finish that we are not only to love Him with all our hearts, and to worship and obey Him, but also to be thankful at all times for Him and to Him. He makes clear thanksgiving should be a way of life for us. A lifelong pursuit. A lifestyle. Yes, a lifestyle of thanksgiving. For some of us, this comes naturally. For others of us, it does not. For all of us, whether it comes naturally or not, we need to practice it.
Some of us are positive and thankful by nature. Others of us are negative and unthankful by nature. Some of us have relatively easy and pleasurable lives, and seemingly have good reason to be thankful. Others of us have exceedingly challenging lives, and seemingly have good reason to be unthankful. Some of us fall somewhere in between, and may or may not be thankful.
Yet we are ALL called to be thankful. We are all commanded to be thankful. The Lord doesn’t exclude anyone from thanksgiving. He is perfectly and clearly and forever worthy of honor, praise, glory, and thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is not about the flesh. It’s not about self. It’s about the Lord. It’s about His majesty and glory. It’s about who He is, what He’s done, what He’s doing, what He will do, about His physical provision for us, about His endless spiritual blessings like His love, peace, joy, hope, encouragement, compassion, mercy, and comfort, about His fellowship, about forgiveness, salvation, a forever relationship with Him through Christ, about our eternal blessings and rewards, for those who follow Jesus, most importantly being given forever fellowship with Him, it’s about our everyday blessings right down to every breath He gives us, it’s about what we see with our eyes and hold in our hands, it’s about what He places in our hearts, it’s about relationships, friendships, it’s about His company, companionship, communion, and friendship, it’s about His Lordship above all, it’s about His sovereignty and grace and the water we drink and food we eat, and on and on and on.
I daresay no matter who we are, no matter our stories and the details of our lives, no matter our circumstances, how great and easy or indescribably unbearably hard, or anything in between, no matter how young or old we are, no matter how rich or poor financially, no matter how long we have believed in Jesus Christ as Lord, or how new we may be to knowing and loving Him, we have reason to be thankful. How many of us, I wonder, restrict thanksgiving to Thanksgiving Day in America, or to church on Sundays, or to praying before a meal, or to a gratitude list once in a while, or to thanking God before we climb into bed at night. Would God, Lord of the universe, ever have us to restrict our thanksgiving for and to Him at all? Or would He have us practice thanksgiving, to daily, diligently, dutifully, delightedly, and thankfully, yes, consciously and affirmatively, proactively and caringly, lovingly and humbly, no matter how easy and wonderful or devastatingly direly challenging our lives, or no matter our lives at all, choose to be thankful, choose to express to God almighty our thanksgiving, in our hearts, out of our mouths, in our decisions and actions, in our worship, in our devotedness to Him, in our love for Him and love for others? Should we not all practice unconditional thanksgiving?
May this be a reminder to us all that whether thanksgiving for and to God may be the first, or the last thing, on our minds, let us all choose to practice it more and more whereby it becomes continual and honorable in blessed reverence to the most precious and eternally beloved Lord God almighty. Amen!