I am writing this on Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. Have you ever stopped to consider what the root of true thankfulness is?
Most of us think that we deserve what we have because of one reason or another. Many who have an abundance of good things consider it a result of their own abilities and hard work. So, they think they should thank themselves.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against hard work. Work is a good thing. Some think that the more people you have working under you, the more you prosper. Of course, that all depends on how you define prosper.
The world’s definition of prosperity
Today’s world defines prosperity by how many dollars you are worth. Jeff Besos is the owner of Amazon. He is the first person in history to be considered a trillionaire. Does that mean that he is the most prosperous man to ever live? If money is the standard of prosperity, then he would be. If that were so, then he should be the most thankful person in the world. But, is he?
The wisest man ever to walk on this earth had this to say about that. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.” That wise man was Jesus of Nazareth. He claimed to be The Son of God. If you do not accept this truth, then you have decided that you are “God”. No amount of proof will convince you otherwise. But, if you are a reasonable person, you will consider this truth. He proved Himself the Son of God by infallible proofs. No one but the Creator could have done the things He did. Too many witnesses attest to His Godliness.
The Creator’s definition of prosperity
Back to His statement. It seems that the Creator of all determines prosperity by different standards. That brings us back to why we are thankful. Is our thankfulness based in the things we possess? If it is, then you have a false “thankfulness”. This “Son of God” Who is Jesus of Nazareth, had this to say about what is of worth. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Why should that statement be of any worth? If you believe that all that you are is the result of “evolution”, then it has no worth. By evolutionary standards, it will devolve to “nothing” in the end. Therefore, it has no real value at all. Most people who value themselves in relation to money are not thankful at all. They praise themselves for their abilities and intelligence. Worship of self and their abilities is their focus. They have what they have because they deserve it. No need to be thankful at all.
The Root of True Thankfulness
So, where does true “thankfulness” come from.
First American Thanksgiving
Let’s look at the first American Thanksgiving Day. It occurred in Plymouth Rock located in what is now the state of Massachusetts. In 1619, a group of people, known as the Pilgrims, located there. They were seeking a place to worship the God of the Bible as defined by the Bible. It looked as if the project would be a disaster. In the first year more than half the people died because of the winter and lack of food.
But, after that year and the completion of the harvest, they celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day. Why? They were by no means established are abounding in goodly things. They had another cold winter facing them in just a few months. Why celebrate Thanksgiving?
Something beyond their own ability and foresight had occurred. Some indigenous people(Indians) to that area had befriended the Pilgrims. They shared with them how to hunt and how to plant crops that thrived there. Secular history would paint these two groups as antagonists.
But, secularists do not allow for a Creator God. The God of the Pilgrims and the Indians was in control. Though many of the Pilgrims had perished in the first year, they realized who was in control. Because of that, they were compelled to offer Him thankfulness. It was not their ingenuity or ability that caused them to survive and build a place to serve the Creator. It was by means of someone alien to them that they were established.
Dependence on the Creator brought gratitude
Having realized their total dependence on their Creator, they were filled with gratitude. They had not survived by their own abilities. Rather it was the grace of God. Therefore, they could not glory in their ability, but rather glory in God’s grace. True thankfulness flowed from a total dependence on the grace of God. There was no room for self-glory in true “Thanksgiving”.
Where do you place your thankfulness?
As you begin to reconsider “Thanksgiving”, think of where you are placing your thankfulness. Is your focus on what you have attained or how much you achieved? Are you focusing on material things or on spiritual things?
If our thankfulness is focused on ourselves, it is self-glorifying. To be self-glorifying is to make oneself his own god. If that is your case, be wary. You have put yourself in alignment against the Creator of the universe. He has said, “You shall have no other gods before me.” If that is your situation, I encourage you to repent, right now. “Repent” means to turn and go the other direction. So, instead of being thankful to yourself or some human entity, be thankful to God.
Thankfulness focused on material things
On the other hand, if you are focusing on material things, stop and consider. Material things, no matter how extravagant, will decay and pass away. You may enjoy them for your entire existence on this earth. But, in eternity, they will profit you nothing, because they are not eternal.
Focus of true thankfulness
The only way that you can be truly thankful is to have received something beyond your own abilities. What is the root of true thankfulness? That “something” is a right relationship with your Creator. Apart from that, you will never know true thankfulness.
How do you enter into that realm of true thankfulness? First of all, you must realize that you can not achieve it yourself. You can never work hard enough or do enough good things to merit that favor. It is stated this way in Ephesians 2: “For by grace are you saved.” That term “grace” simply means that you do not deserve it, but you can receive it. It goes on to say, “through faith”. This faith is explained as taking God at His word and then committing yourself to Him.
Continuing it says, “not of works, lest any man should boast.” There it is, you do not get any credit for entering that grace. So, you do not get any thankfulness. All the “thankfulness” and glory goes to the One Who paid for the grace that is extended to you.
So, on this Thanksgiving Day give thanks to the only One deserving of thanks. That One is your Creator Who has revealed Himself through His only begotten Son, Jesus. He is the root of true thankfulness.
May this be the day that you begin to express true thanksgiving for the greatest gift of all. That gift is eternal life with your Creator Who loves you so very much.