For what should we give thanks to God?

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Answered by: Talitha, An Expert in the Christianity - General Category
America has a traditional Thanksgiving holiday that has turned into more of a glorified binge fest than a day to give thanks. But as disciples of Jesus, we must remember to constantly give thanks to God, without whom we have nothing and are nothing. God gave us everything we are and have. He has given us life and all of its physical blessings. Better still, He has given us his word and our spiritual brothers and sisters to nurture our spiritual bodies and to build us up in His love.

The scriptures tell us what kinds of things we ought to be most thankful for (cited from ESV):

Matthew 15:36 He took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Before Jesus fed the thousands coming to hear him preach, he gave thanks for the food, acknowledging who had provided it.

Acts 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. This verse cites the reaction of the disciples when they came before the High Priest and the Jewish Council to be beaten, imprisoned, and chastised for preaching Jesus to others. To us these seem the most bizarre things for which we should give thanks to God! In America today we are truly blessed because we do not even know what it is like to really suffer for preaching Jesus Christ. Instead of beating and imprisonments we may get ‘unfriended’ on Facebook or lightly scoffed at. Still yet we ought to be thankful if we suffer for the Name, no matter the extreme; it is an indication that we are doing His will and have found favor in His sight.

Romans 7:24-25 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Without Christ’s sacrifice, we are but wretched beings unable to save ourselves and unworthy to be in the presence of God. Fortunately for us, Jesus’ blood reconciles us to the Father and saves us from the otherwise impending wrath of God.

As we continue our contemplation of which spiritual and physical blessings for which we are to be most thankful, let us reference the following second set up scriptures that give us excellent guidelines (cited from ESV):

Phillipians 4:4-6; 11-13 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. … [I]n everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. From jail where he is writing his letter to them, Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice and be thankful.

1 Timothy 6:8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. How much more we have in American society than just the bare necessities! Let us give thanks to God.

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

At the beginning of the following New Testament epistles, the apostle Paul gave thanks for the saints faithful to Christ Jesus to whom he was writing. They built up each other and proclaimed their faith to others throughout the nations. Romans 1:8; 1 Cor 1:4; Ephesians 1:3, 15-17; Phillipians 1:3-5; Colossians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:3; Philemon 1:4-5.

We also see an amazing story of faith, healing, and thankfulness in Luke’s gospel. This account shows how Jesus views those who are thankful – and those who are not. Jesus healed ten lepers; only one, who was a foreigner, came back to give Him thanks.

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