“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” (Psalm 100:4)
As we enter the fall season, there is much for which to be thankful. The harvest is coming in. Schools are full of eager and active students. The heat of the summer has passed. Fall and the colors of God’s creation display a new pattern of hues to His glory. How blessed we are to know and serve such a great and awesome God.
It is good to give thanks, both to Him who gives all things, and to the ones He uses to dispense blessings in our lives. As we prepare, as a people and as a nation, to give thanks this November, let us refresh our understanding of this important word. What is involved in giving thanks?
‘T’ stands for “Trusting”. As we give thanks to God for His provision and blessing, we are saying, “I look to You as the One who meets my needs, guides me, protects me, and teaches me. You are trustworthy and you show that through your faithfulness and goodness.” Natives of The New Hebrides in the South Pacific translate the word trust as “placing your full weight upon someone else.” As we give thanks to God, we show that we trust Him by placing the whole of our lives into His arms. Is that the nature of your relationship with Him today?
‘H’ stands for “Honoring”. To God alone belongs our highest respect, reverence, and homage. As we give thanks to Him, we are saying, “You alone deserve all of the credit for the beauty of this creation, for the bounteous nature of your love, and for the lavish riches of your grace.” As the people of God cry out for salvation and praise Him for what He has done, their right response will be: “that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” (Ps. 106:47).
‘A’ stands for “Acclaiming”. As God provides for us, answers our prayers, and sustains us in our daily life, there is much we have to tell others. In thanksgiving, we declare with enthusiasm what God has done and who He is. When we see God at work, and how He takes care of His own, it is impossible to hold it in. Indeed, we need to acclaim, proclaim, and declare the wonders and works that He has performed. “Declare His glories among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples” (Ps. 96:3).
‘N’ stands for “Naming”. What are we thankful for? If we would only take a moment to reflect on this question, the answer would come flowing off of our tongues. To name something is to identify it, to put it in a category, or to give understanding about it. Do we have salvation? Give thanks and name the blessings that come with it (e.g. forgiveness, peace, hope, joy, etc.). Do we have friends, homes, provisions, toys, jobs? Name them and give thanks for them. Looking at all that we have, all that we have received, and all whom we know will give us plenty to “name” as items of praise and thanksgiving. Such an exercise allows us to see God at work in every aspect of our lives. “Count your blessings, name them one by name.”
‘K’ stands for “Knowing”. In giving thanks, there are two aspects of knowing. The first is that we know that it is God who provides for us and is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. We know that we are not able to sustain and provide for ourselves. We need the One who created us to do so. The second aspect is that we grow in our personal relationship with God. We know Him as He is and for who He is. As we emphasize this personal knowledge of God in thanksgiving, we give more focus on the Giver than on the gifts that He provides. When we value the LORD as our treasure, more than just the Giver of treasure, we remember that He created us for His glory and that we might know Him as Lord, Savior, Master, and King.
‘S’ stands for “Satisfying”. As we trust and honor our Lord, as we tell others what He has done and grow in our relationship with Him, we find that He alone is able to satisfy the deepest longings of our soul. Moreover, we find that in Him we are truly satisfied and fulfilled. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you!” (Ps. 73:25). “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). In finding our deepest satisfaction in the One who created and saved us, we are then strengthened and enabled to enjoy the other things He has given to us and the loved ones He has placed around us. Let us, then, give thanks to the One who causes our cup to overflow!
Trusting. Honoring. Acclaiming. Naming. Knowing. Satisfying. Those are some of the things that are involved in giving T.H.A.N.K.S. So, let’s be thankful! May we give thanks as a way of life, as an offering of worship, as an expression of our on-going dependency on our God and Heavenly Father! Dear friends, I wish you not only a great Thanksgiving holiday with friends and loved ones, I wish you a lifelong adventure with the One to whom we give thanks. “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High!” (Ps. 92:1).