Published November 21, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Thankful, So Thankful"

Gather ‘round, friends, for a brief lesson regarding English grammar.

If you look up the word "thank" in the dictionary, as I did in my big Webster's, you will find that the word is followed by two little letters: "v.t." That means, as you might recall from your English classes of yore, "verb transitive." And a transitive verb requires an object.

In other words, to "thank" requires that we thank something, or, most commonly, someone.

Now think about the name of our holiday, "Thanksgiving." Right there in the name it says we are giving thanks. But to whom? Whom are we thanking?

Well, that question was answered long ago when the Pilgrims had the first "thanks-giving" (by whatever name they may have applied at the time). They were thanking God for His blessings on them, for their safety, for their health, for the harvest, for their food, for adequate provisions, for their families, for the new land.

As it's expressed in the familiar words of the Doxology, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow..."

Of course, we can, and should, be thankful to God for those same things as the Pilgrims. But, as Christians, we have so much more for which to be thankful.

Triumphant has a song out currently called "Thankful, So Thankful," and it says it well:

"I'm thankful, so thankful,
for the love that He showed on a cross on a hill where He paid for every sin.
He's faithful and I'm grateful
for the life that He gave so that I could be saved and live forever with Him.
Even in a valley I can say, Lord, I'm thankful."*

On last weekend's broadcast, you heard Jason Clark of the Nelons talk about the importance of giving thanks to God. He put it this way:

"I think a life of gratitude is really, really, supremely important. And gratitude is not based upon the circumstances of our life. It should just be a lifestyle. I was talking with Michael Booth about this just last night. He said, ‘Ain't it just better to live that way?' And I said, ‘I think it's what Jesus was trying to teach us through the Word..."

Jason says it's also what the Apostle Paul was teaching us in 1st Thessalonians 5:18 when he counseled, " everything, give thanks."

Jason admits, "That's easy preaching and hard living sometimes. I realize that. We're just a moment away from our world being turned upside down. But even in the midst of that, the Scripture says, ‘in everything give thanks...this is the will of our Father.' I believe He's trying to teach us that because God draws near to the grateful heart, He draws near to those that praise Him. And so if we really want to know where God's at in the hardest times of life, thank Him. Give Him praise. He's right there."

In other words, our praise, our thankfulness and the expressions of our thanks to God bring us closer to Him – something that pleases the Lord. In fact, James 4:8 tells us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." Sincerely thanking God draws us into closer fellowship with Him.

And there's always plenty for which to thank God. As Triumphant's song says, "Even on my worst days I will lift my voice. I have every reason to rejoice."

Be thankful. Very thankful. But every time you think of Thanksgiving, remember that "thanksgiving" means nothing if we're not giving thanks to God for His blessings.

- Paul

*"Thankful, So Thankful," written by Scott Inman and Lee Black, Sunset Gallery Music, Christian Taylor Music BMI, as recorded on Triumphant's "Thankful" CD.
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