One, no one has done anything deserving thanks.
Or, I was entitled to what was really an act deserving of thanks.
Enter the Pilgrims.
Their act of giving thanks was a demonstration of thankful hearts and an acknowledgment of one deserving their thanks.
Being humble people who were spiritually sensitive they felt unworthy of the least of favors. They were not groveling, but grateful. Grateful, to whom?
Revisionists now teach the Pilgrims were thankful to the Native Americans so they had a celebration to thank them for their help in getting acclimated.
Such teaching is designed to eliminate an object deserving of thanks as indicated in number one above. The purpose in doing so is not just to discredit God as an active force in the lives of the Pilgrims, but to remove Him from the conscience of those being taught this fabrication. Advocates of this calumny feel they owe no thanks nor did the Pilgrims owe thanks. Dig a little deeper and in many cases you will find they do not believe there is a God worthy of thanks.
Persons with a Bible orientation know the challenge to give thanks in all things. All things?
Doing so is called a “sacrifice of praise.”
“...therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
A thankful individual is thankful under all circumstances. If not for the incident, expression, or event for the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
A predisposed complainer will complain even in Paradise.
Engage in a bit of introspection. Dispositionally are you a thankful person?
Next, are you mindful of the things in your life for which thanks are appropriate?
Third, are you inclined to be more aware of the things for which to give thanks than to complain?
Now, back to the hard part of giving thanks “continually.”
There is a Bible text that says, “Be filled with the Spirit, giving thanks always for all things” (Ephesians 5: 20).
It is not to be done in the sense you are grateful a bad thing happens, but that in all such things there is the potential of a character development aspect. It is an acknowledgment that even bad things afford an opportunity for all things to work together for good. The Bible text that notes “all things work together for good” means in everything, everything, God is very busy bringing the good out of it.
Giving thanks is a matter of perspective. It is based on what we choose to focus on. Persons focused on themselves or circumstances are not thankful people. Appreciative and grateful people are thankful people. The perspective of the Pilgrims, not their circumstances, prone them to give thanks.
Giving thanks is an act of the will, not of emotions. Even if you don’t feel like giving thanks, you can if you have the will to.
Will you resolve to be a thankful person who expresses thanks to deserving people and a loving God who is working all things together for good in your life. If so, you will not leave Thanksgiving behind, but celebrate it — 365, 24/7. Live as though thankful.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.