Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

We are in November, the month of Thanksgiving and I am seeing fall wreaths and home decor everywhere. The saying, thankful, grateful, blessed, or some version of this, seems to be the most popular during this time of year. I found myself asking the question, are we? Those of us who hang these signs in our homes this time of year, are we truly thankful? Are we truly grateful? Do we really believe that we are blessed?

I can only answer this for myself and the honest answer would have to be no, not always, and definitely not like I should.

The Scripture is absolutely FULL of verses about thanksgiving and gratitude. It would be impossible for me to cover them all in this post so let us just look at a few for starters.

Did you know that when God was giving His people the Law in Leviticus, He included a thanksgiving offering? (Leviticus 3 and 7:11-21) It’s called the Peace Offering. I read the verses in chapter 7 and then went back and read chapter 3 and was slightly confused because it was called the Peace Offering in both places but seemed to be different things. I phoned a Jewish friend to help clear things up. She told me that the Peace Offering is a completely free will offering to God. This offering was often offered at the same time as other offerings like Passover. The Peace Offering could be for any number of things. It could be to given as a form of worship, to draw close to God, and to just recognize Him as Sovereign God who alone is worthy of our worship and devotion. Another way was the Thanksgiving Offering, thanking God for anything and everything He had done for you, provided for you, or delivered you from.

When you have time, I would encourage you to read Psalm 107. This Psalm is specific to the Thanksgiving offering and lists just a few reasons why it should be given. In summary, if you have been redeemed or delivered from distress, you should give thanks to the LORD. If you have been in bondage of any kind and are now free, you should give thanks to the LORD. If you have ever been rebellious to God, walked in disobedience, or lived in sin and God forgave you, you should give thanks to the LORD. If you have ever been sick and were healed or been on a dangerous journey and made it home safe, you should give thanks to the LORD.

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, and praise Him in the company of the elders. Psalm 107:22, 32

Want to know what else my Jewish friend told me about this particular offering? She said it was customary for Jews to gather together with family and friends during these times of offering thanks to God and have a celebratory feast sharing with everyone the goodness of God.

Sound familiar?

I understand that these passages were written specifically to the Jews however they hold truth for us as well. Throughout the New Testament we are commanded to give thanks to God for all things.

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:19-21

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:15-17

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

As you enter this season of Thanksgiving, I want to challenge you to think on what you have to be grateful for. Focus on those things that we normally take for granted or don’t usually consider to be blessings. And when you gather with family and friends at the end of this month, you can share your offering of thanks and truly celebrate who God is and what He’s done for you.

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