I remember a story my father shared about his experience in the anointing service of our church. Usually, in an anointing service, people are given time to approach a pastor, say their prayer requests and let the pastor pray for them. But one particular man stood out from all the crowd for my father. When asked about his requests, the man told him none – he just wanted to thank God for everything. Not that it’s wrong having to ask of God but there is just something in the rarity of a prayer of thanksgiving nowadays that finding such becomes a memory worth keeping.
Come to think of it, when was the last time we thanked God for all that He has done? I do not mean the three second “thank you Lord” prayer we utter during meals, but in a way deeper and more profound than the usual. Have we taken time to just sit back in our quiet times, reflect on what God has done, and offer our hearts in nothing but thanksgiving?
Too many of us get caught up in the tresses of our busy schedules that we often forget how the grace of God has enabled us to carry on to this point in our lives. Some may not even think about the word – perhaps too preoccupied by a problem, or something similar? Often we hear pastors teach about giving thanks, (and I believe that most church goers could recite a verse or two about it) and many songs have been written with that kind of message (are you thinking about the song “Give Thanks” by Don Moen?), so much that we become too used to them, forgetting it’s real meaning. I’m not generalizing and I honestly admit that I’m not perfect with regards to this aspect. But it is really sad to know that our human nature tends to take God for granted just because of familiarity. We often overlook the what-if – what if God decides to change things up? What if God gets tired and stops his grace? Will that be the only time we realize the value of what He gave us?
And thus the saying is true: We won’t know what we have until we have lost it.
Familiarity is a poison. It makes us think so little of what should have been a big deal. I think it’s time for a little reminder. A little alarm clock for all of us.
God reminds the Israelites of this in Moses’ time:
Deuteronomy 16:15 (MSG)
“GOD – your GOD – has been blessing you in your harvest and in all your work, so make a day of it – really celebrate!”
To celebrate. Not to work, but to celebrate and not just because everybody was doing it. He demanded that we celebrate wholeheartedly. I believe the reason for the Sabbath is not just to allow ourselves a rest from work or school, but also to allow us a day of reflection – how God has been good and faithful the six days that passed. In wherever we are, or whatever church we attend, we have one God that gives generously to everyone, and so I believe that we must all use our Sabbaths and just thank Him for all that He has done, and will do. There are so many things to be grateful for (I remember seeing a book entitled “A Thousand Things to Thank God For” and, reading it, I’m amazed at realizing how there really are many things to credit God for.) Remember that God is a Father. And just like any other parent, there’s nothing more comforting and pleasing than to hear your child say thank you.
Saying thank you shouldn’t be reserved only for “big things” like being healed from a terminal sickness, or having an answered prayer. Thanksgiving can be also be for the smallest and unnoticed of blessings, if only we know how to spot them. Start with the basics. Our lives, our families, our friends. And branch out.
And realize how there really are a thousand things to thank GOD for.
God bless! =)