There is no doubt that God expects His children to maintain and practice a spirit of thanksgiving and sincere gratitude. This is, first and foremost, to be directed toward our Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow. How terrible it is to not show gratitude and praise to the great God of Heaven who gives us air to breathe and food to eat!
Not to be grateful to the God who allows our hearts to beat and sent His Son to die for our sin is the biggest insult. It is overwhelming to think that we would not maintain a sweet spirit of thanks and praise to Him. Yet, sadly, many Christians spend a good portion of their lives whining and complaining about what they want but don’t have. The truth is that when we don’t thank God or give Him praise, it is indicative of the fact that our hearts are wrong, and that we think too highly of ourselves. We need a good dose of humility.
I think of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus in Matthew 15. Her daughter was sore vexed with a devil, and she pleaded with the Lord to do something. He did not respond; in fact, the Bible states, “He answered her not a word.” Yet, she kept persisting to the point that the disciples pleaded with the Lord to send her away. He responded that He was sent, “Unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The lady finally came to Jesus and worshiped at His feet. He responded with what seemed like an insult, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” I love the fact that this woman was tuned in and was desperate. She responded to Him with, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
This woman realized her insignificant position; more importantly, she also realized in Whose presence she was standing. He was God! Although she was not a Jew, she wanted to be under His rule and control. He did not have to do very much because He was so mighty; this was not a hard task for Him! She just needed a crumb or two from His great table.
I love the Lord’s response. Although what He said may seem cruel, it enables us to see that her faith in Him was great. That was the point! His response to her is very revealing: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”
Is it possible that we often don’t see Him properly because we have a skewed view of our own selves? Sometimes we are like the Pharisee that prayed in the Temple, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are.” When we fall into this trap, we are not seeing ourselves properly.
During this season of thanksgiving, let’s begin by seeing ourselves as God sees us. I understand that in Him we are heirs to all that He has, but remember, it is not because of who we are, but because of what He did. Therefore, we need to see ourselves as saved sinners unworthy of the least of His favor, but blessed because He gives us all things richly to enjoy!
I trust that throughout our lives we will continue every day to give God glory, praise, and worship with a spirit of thanksgiving. Let’s not wait for one day a year to share our thanksgiving. Praise Him daily! He is worthy, and we are blessed to be able to come into the presence of our great God and King as one of His children.