THE DANGER IN THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time because it is very important to give thanks to God. However, Thanksgiving can also have a bad influence on us. During this time of the year we focus on our blessings, the good things in life, that what we approve of and like. We thank God for them. No problem so far. But when the focus is mainly on what I perceive as good and what I like, then the emphasis becomes on me and how I evaluate how God has treated me. I are far too short-sighted and too comfort-driven to be able to accurately discern what is really best for me long term. Like a little child, I only care about pleasure now. But like any good parent, God has a long range perspective. Suppose He always and only did what was easiest and most pleasurable for me at the moment?
Thanking Him for His blessings is fine, but what about thanking Him for that which we don’t like or understand? Isn’t He sovereign over that as well? Doesn’t He have a good purpose in allowing pain as well as pleasure? Why is He only worthy of being thanked when we approve of His actions? Think of Joseph who spent years in slavery and in prison in Egypt. What about Paul with his painful thorn in the flesh? Or Abraham who prayed and prayed for a child but didn’t have one until he was 100 years old? If they had seen God’s purpose in them then they would have thanked Him for them as well. Just because we don’t see God’s plan doesn’t mean He doesn’t have one!
We, too, can be focused on our entitlement, expectations, indulgences and getting what we think we need and deserve. Then when anything comes into our lives that is less than perfect, we fail to thank Him for it. We must thank Him for everything He does, no matter if we see His purpose or not.
Yes, an emphasis on thanksgiving is wonderful. But it can also be short-sighted and self-centered. Do you want to do something different this Thanksgiving? Thank Him for that in your life for which you have been unable to thank Him! That’s REAL thanksgiving!
Romans 8:28 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Make a list of things in your life now and in the past that you haven’t been able to thank God for. Then thank Him for each and every one, one by one. Remember everything He does is for our good and His glory. Happy Thanksgiving!