Thanksgiving: The Attitude of Gratitude
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever...Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. — Psalm 107:1, 21-22
Thanksgiving is distinct from praise, which is distinct from worship.
Thanksgiving relates to God’s deeds and what God has done for us. It involves responding to God with thanks for what He has done for us. It simply means to count our blessings with audible appreciation to God for example, remembering with thanks all the benefits and blessings God has given us in Christ (Psalm 103:1-5). Praise, on the other hand, relates to God’s person and character. It centers on who God is.
There are many Scriptures that encourage us to give thanksgiving to God:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” — Jonah 2:9
Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!... Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth.—Psalm 105:1-3, 5
“And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it of your own free will.”—Leviticus 22:29
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. — Psalm 100:4
D. L. Moody once told of an elderly man who gave a testimony at one of his meetings. The man said that he had lived most of his life on “grumble street,” but after he became a Christian, he moved to “thanksgiving street.” Even in his advanced years of accepting Christ, this man was full of thanks to the Lord who had saved his soul. The joy of gratitude was written all over his face. Often we should take inventory and ask ourselves if we have a thankful heart. If we do not, we are hardly worth the name “Christian.”
True thanksgiving is not complete until it is expressed. It must become vocal. There is so much pessimism and discouragement in this world. Most people are too quick to complain, but slow to give thanks and praise to God. Others excuse themselves by saying, “I am grateful in my heart.” That is good, but it is not acceptable to Jesus. Thanksgiving must be expressed. Remember the ten lepers Jesus cleansed in Luke 17?
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks... So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”... “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” — Luke 17:15-19