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In Scripture, the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or recommendation, it is a command. It carries with it as much weight as love your neighbor and give to the poor.
Over 100 times, either by imperative or by example, the Bible exhorts us to be thankful. So if quantity means gravity, then God takes gratitude very seriously. Here’s why.
When I read the book of Genesis in the Bible, I see that ingratitude is the original sin. Adam and Eve had a million reasons to be thankful: waterfalls, birds, beaches, sunsets. God found Eden so delightful that he himself strolled in it in the cool of the day.
Adam and Eve found the garden so safe, they wore no clothes. They had nothing to hide and no one to hide from. They lived in a perfect world. They were one with creation, one with God, one with each other. It was surprising. Press your ear against the opening pages of Genesis and you’ll hear Eden in concert – but then came the serpent.
Meet the American who gave the nation the origin story of our Thanksgiving: Pilgrim Edward Winsell
Satan entered the garden. He raised a question about the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve could eat from all the others, but Satan focused on the one fruit they could not touch. “Eat it,” he said, “and you will be like God.” And just like that, Eden wasn’t enough.
Certainly, the garden was a veritable paradise; Environmental harmony, relative purity, spiritual peace. God had told them, “I have given you every seed-bearing plant and every fruit-bearing tree on the earth for your good.” They had their own produce section! He had given them everything they needed. “But there may be more,” suggested the devil. “You deserve more,” hinting at the fragility that lies just across the boundary line.
On this day in history, October. 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Great Thanksgiving
And with that thought, Eve felt her first dissatisfaction. Instead of considering the orchard he had, he examined a fruit that God had forbidden. Discontent moved in like a bully on the block.
I wonder if Thanksgiving would have won? What if Adam and Eve scoffed at the serpent’s advice and said, “Are you kidding? The thing we can’t eat, have you seen this place? The strawberry patches, the melon fields, the orange groves.” Orchards, blueberry bushes. Let’s take you on a walk. We’ll show you what God gave us, you little snake.”
Would the world be different if they had chosen gratitude? If you chose gratitude, would your world be different?
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In 1 Thessalonians the New Testament says, “In everything give thanks.” We might pause at the phrase, “in all things.” In trouble, in hospital, in recovery, in mess, in trouble – should we then be thankful? Jesus was
Scripture says, “On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it.” How often do you see the words “betrayal” and “thanksgiving” in the same sentence? Are, very few in the same heart? Let’s take a cue from Jesus, give thanks and see what happens.
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My friends, thanksgiving and prayers of gratitude can get us through difficult things. Reflecting on our blessings during this time of thanksgiving means practicing God’s accomplishments, discovering His heart, and remembering that He has given us all that we need. He gives us good gifts, because he is a good giver. Gratitude always leads us to focus on God instead of our fears. The apostle Paul said, “For everything give thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today, let’s fill our prayers with gratitude moment by moment, day by day, and watch our perspective, and our world, change.
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