READ: Psalm 107, Micah 5, John 11, Philippians 1
THE POWER OF THANKS
The psalmist pleads, “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 107)! Giving thanks obviously pleases God, but as with many of God’s instructions, it also satisfies us. A beautiful mystery in our faith is that fulfillment and satisfaction are directly tied to obedience. The more we worship and thank, the more satisfied our souls. Giving thanks may please the receiver, but it deeply satisfies the giver. It is important that the follower of Jesus learns the discipline of thanksgiving, a discipline beyond thanking God for pleasant things, for there are secret delights when we thank Him in adversity.
Thanks for being hungry. It is a gift of God to experience hunger. Fasting in part reminds us that only Jesus satisfies us. Daily bread is intended to be an ongoing reminder from heaven that only God can satisfy the longing soul (Psalm 107:9). In the course of life we will often find that good things have lost their luster and former pleasures no longer allure. This is a gift of God, a message we should receive with thanks. Dissatisfaction is in fact an appeal from the throne for us to turn to the only One who can complete us.
Thanks for being little. Micah prophesied that though Bethlehem was “little . . . yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler”(Micah 5:2). We should give thanks for being insignificant and limited, for God delights to use the weak things of the world to shame the wise. Being little positions us for God’s greatness. When we are little in our own eyes, mighty God comes forth to rule. It is from the weak that Jesus emerges.
Thanks for being sick. Jesus reminded His disciples that the terminal illness of a beloved friend was “not unto death, but for the glory of God” (John 11:4). Some sickness is prolonged so that Jesus might get greater glory. Most sickness is not a result of sin by the invalid, but because God wants to do something in the life of the infirm and in the lives of those around them. When we approach sickness with genuine thanks, it startles both the principalities who perversely enjoy suffering and the unconverted who can only fear it.
Thanksgiving is one of the most underused of the Christian’s weapons. We are moderately obedient in thankfulness for pleasant things. We are woefully silent when God gives us the great opportunity to thank Him for hunger, smallness, and sickness. There is much to be gained for our soul and won for the kingdom when we learn to give thanks in everything, for this IS the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us (1 Thess. 5:18).