The Right Thanksgiving

It is good to look back on the fruits and yields of the season’s harvest and quietly contemplate: Have we truly appreciated the bounty of this year’s harvest? Was it received with grateful hearts from God’s hand? It is a beautiful custom in church congregations when fruits of the field and garden are displayed to illustrate God’s blessing. This lovely image encourages us to exclaim with C.F. Gellert, who wrote: 

How great is the Almighty’s goodness! 

Is He a man, who heartlessly  

Would stifle thanks due unto Him? No!  

To grasp His love 

Shall eternally be my greatest duty! 

The Lord has never forgotten me, 

And so, my heart, do not forget Him! 

Yes, God kept His Word again this year, which He gave to mankind soon after the great flood: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).  

 In His fatherly love and patience, God guarantees the ever-changing and recurring law of nature each passing year. Regardless of mankind’s attitude, such a sacred and beneficial provision benefits all people. Matthew 5:45 states: “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” If sometimes a less favorable harvest occurs as a result of unfavorable weather conditions, people should be willing to look after one another and help each other out. 

God is primarily concerned with the offering of our heart! How often did the divine voice sound in our ear: “My son [My daughter], give Me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways” (Proverbs 23:26). However, the surrender of the heart must include the recognition of each one’s transgressions and failures toward God.  Approaching Him in sincere repentance is necessary in fulfilling your vows and then receiving forgiveness to start anew. Oh, how many vows have been made in times of trouble and distress! But have those vows been kept? Let us examine ourselves this Thanksgiving! God wants us to keep our vows! 

We must come to terms with our God and settle old debts, including our vows. The divine promise that we may call upon Him, asking Him to save us in times of need, will only then gain strength. There is a close connection here: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15). God’s kind offer to answer our call of distress includes an obligation. This is usually overlooked. People like to call on God as their occasional “emergency helper,” but they often forget about their responsibility when they’ve received His help. 

Let us remember one thing today: he who has not kept his vows to God has no promise of being rescued in his distress.  Nevertheless, if God helps him, such a person has a double reason to praise the inexpressible goodness and fatherly mercy of God for the undeserved gracious help. Let us examine whether all is well between us and our God so that we call out to Him and praise Him for help both in good and bad days! 

He who offers thanksgiving to God in this way, consecrating his humble heart as a sacrifice, will not fail to surrender himself completely on the altar of God. As well, such a person will not remain ignorant of the needs in the kingdom of God. He will consequently see himself as a steward of the goods that his God has entrusted to him, which actually already belong to God. 

The right thanksgiving must consist of wholehearted surrender of ourselves to God. Only through full surrender can we properly praise God as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Through our sacrificial offering, we also contribute to the proclamation of the gospel. The gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (see Matthew 24:14). 

He who offers the right thanksgiving from the depths of a humble heart receives the assurance of properly praising God. Furthermore, he receives the assurance of being on the right path on which God’s salvation can be shown. The literal translation of Psalm 50:23 is: “To him who goes the right way I will show the salvation of God” (CJB). We may learn from this: Only those who trustingly come to God with a humble heart desiring salvation and are willing to offer Him thanksgiving, praise, and worship are on the right path to having and remaining certain of their salvation! 

 Our perception of Thanksgiving is associated with a harvest field and its sheaves. Children of God often think of the eternal harvest when it will be revealed whether they have brought forth enduring fruit in their lives. If we want to offer true thanksgiving to the Lord, we must also be prepared to work in the field of God’s Kingdom. Our eternal harvest will be in direct correlation to the what we offer to God’s service. 

Paul wrote the Galatians the encouraging word: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). – What will your harvest be like? 

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