Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is the most widely celebrated holiday in America. A survey showed that 92% of Americans have special gathering at Thanksgiving.

Why??? Giving thanks is natural, inherent, seems right and proper - all peoples, cultures, religions view giving thanks the same way. Even an avowed atheist in a book he'd written stated that he was "eternally grateful" ......

So, Question? are we to just follow our own feelings, intuitions, and instincts on this?

Answer: (as Christians) we have specific guidelines in Scripture.

  • Giving thanks was part of the Old Testament sacrificial system. Lev. 7:11-12 - fellowship/peace offering (thank offering) - brought as a result of thanks giving
  • the offering was voluntary but expected - Jews called it a mitzpah - a religious duty or good deed
  • it was always appropriate but especially appropriate when God had done something special (answered prayer, deliverance, protection, blessings Psalm 50:14 Psalm 107:12 (Jonah 2:7-9) prayed while in the belly of the whale
  • the offering gave God proper recognition as the source of blessing Psalm 50:23
So..... thanksgiving became a central part of O.T. worship - Psalm 100:1 Psalm 105:1 Psalm 107:1 Give thanks and make known publicly what He has done.

And.... thanksgiving became a central part of their public worship.
As an individual in public worship - Psalm 35:18
As a nation 1 Chron. 23:30 Neh. 12:31

(Naturally) in the New Testament, giving thanks is especially important.
Example: Jesus..... feeding the 5000 - Matt. 14:19 - this is included in all accounts!!
feeding the 4000 - Matt. 15:36 Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread and fish.
So.... "giving thanks" was directly connected to the miracle! John 6:23

And so, naturally, the act of thanks giving became a central part of Christian life and Christian worship.

Some applications:

#1. We ought to give thanks - this is more than "be thankful" - (3/4 of Christians claim to "be thankful".
A survey taken states that "83% of people say special grace at Thanksgiving meal". BUT, what about the rest of the year??? Thanks should be expressed.

#2. We ought to give thanks to GOD. Psalm 118:28

#3. We ought to do it properly. Lev. 22:29
These are not new rules/rituals. A. give thanks
B. when due (often)
C. to whom it's due
D. with proper reverence

#4. We ought to do it always 1 Thess. 5:18
This does NOT mean 24/7 non-stop NOT for all things But, does mean it's God's will for you.

#5. We ought NOT overlook our greatest blessings
Luke 12:15 Greatest blessings are not material, but spiritual and relational because they are eternal.

Any thank offering can be proper and appropriate. BUT, the greatest thank offering is the of gift of yourself!!

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