“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)
Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea. “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea” (Exodus 15:1). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times Unleavened Bread. “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread….” (Exodus 12:14). Harvest or Pentecost, “You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:16). These feasts involved remembering God’s provision and grace. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin. “Thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:16-17). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)