I expect everyone is preparing their favorite Thanksgiving meals, maybe trying a few or one new dish this year. I am not sure how Thanksgiving’s are for everyone, but they are commonly a time to reflect upon what we are thankful for. As I have taken some time to think about what I am thankful for, it got me also thinking about the whole process. When we think about what we are thankful for it is a time of reflection, a time or remembering, or calling to mind. We remember things from the past year, we think about our current situation, and the possibilities in the future. As I pondered the process
of how we become thankful, I opened up the scriptures to find the Apostle Paul on numerous occasions exhorting us to “remember”, or for us to “put in remembrance”. Thankfulness should to be a characteristic, we as not only Christians, but those who understand and have come to the knowledge of the truth, ought to be filled with. It ought to saturated our mind and heart, and proliferate as we advance in all that God has for us as His sons and daughters. Everything for life and godliness given by our Father, is the source of our thankfulness and therefore we have a lot to be thankful for; however, “remembering” is the means of keeping, maintaining, and holding all our Father has given us, not as if we could lose these things, but for it to be the vibrant and life giving power that they are designed to be. As we “remember” the things of God freely given unto us, our thankfulness is not only refreshed, but can be added to in light of advancing in the deep things of God. In other words, as we learn, by the Spirit through the effectual working of God’s Word, “the deep things of God” our thankfulness ought to follow suit and itself be deep.
Notice, Paul always bring the saints into remembrance of something:
“Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” ~ 1 Cor. 11:2
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;” ~ Eph. 2:11
“The salutation by the hand of me Paul. remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.” ~ Col. 4:18
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sigh tof God an dour Father;” ~ 1 The. 1:2-3
“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” ~ 2 Tim. 2:8
These are but a few instances Paul exhorts us to “remember”. As he calls us to do so and to look at what he is explaining, it should come to no surprise to us that these issues, or what comes from these issues, produces thankfulness. Thankfulness recognizes what has been done, given, bestowed and also esteems those things to the level that they are worth; whether singularly or collectively. Thankfulness should not only characterize us as God’s sons and daughters, but ought to be “given”. When we “give thanks”, especially to our Father, it is a vocal expression in response to all He has done for us. Whether you voice this publicly or in prayer is up to you. A thankful heart is one thing, but to voice these things to our Father is something He delights in (Pro. 23:15-16). Since, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28), it should not be hard for us to do what Paul exhorts, that is, “in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 The. 5:18) If it is hard for us to do, we need to further understand all God has done for us, because they are intrinsically worth thanksgiving.
Although, this brief examination doesn’t even scratch the surface regarding “thanksgiving”, the real punch to all of this is having the capacity to “give thanks” for the future. I expect from what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”, that although unjustified men may not be “most miserable”, they are nevertheless miserable. The reason being is because they have “no hope”; they knowingly or unknowingly have a dismal hope. The hope they have is not one to be thankful for, for God’s wrath is nothing to be thankful for (from the perspective of the unbeliever); however, we, as those who “have hope in Christ”, because of that “hope” not only ought to be “thankful” and therefore “give thanks”, but ought to “rejoice in the Lord alway; again I say, rejoice” (Php 4:4) and to “rejoice evermore” (1 The. 5:16). We can and should be thankful and therefore “give thanks” in something that the world cannot, namely, for the life that is to come. We are therefore “peculiar people” with the highest privilege. I pray that your “thanksgiving” would be one of “giving thanks”, “remembering”, and “rejoicing”. May these matters direct your heart and minds on “every thing” we can be thankful for.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher