By Ronald Bartanen
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“We ought to make an effort to act on our first thoughts, and let our unspoken gratitude find expression. Then there will be more sunshine in the world, and more power to work for what is good.” (Albert Schweitzer)
While our nation pauses this week to celebrate a day of thanksgiving, we realize there are many who would say they are thankful for a number of things, such as their homes, their jobs, their health, and especially their families, but they don’t know who to thank. Thankfulness should be expressed by thanksgiving. Someone once observed, “Pity the poor atheist. He may feel thankful in his heart for his good fortunes, but he has no one to thank.” Sad to say, there are also many who would not consider themselves to be atheists, but would fail to recognize the real source of all blessings—God. They are much like the birds and squirrels who frequent our patio in search of seeds or crumbs which we have put at their disposal. They have come to expect to find something to fill their needs, but most likely have no understanding as to the source of such provisions.
When we lose sight of the One “from Whom all blessings flow,” we seek to live our lives independent of Him. When that happens, all spins out of control. It is as Paul expressed it in Romans 1:21: “Because, though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became vain in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened.” In the verses that followed he described the darkness of idolatry and sexual debauchery. The heart that realizes no dependence upon God is a heart that will take His blessings for granted and express no thankfulness toward the Creator and Sustainer of life.
When we put God out of our lives as a nation, the observance of Thanksgiving Day becomes no more than Turkey Day, a day for indulging ourselves. God would have us to partake of His bountiful supply, and to truly celebrate Thanksgiving with true thanksgiving to God from our hearts. May we heed Paul’s admonition: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com