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Thanksgiving, A Biblical Commandment

                                              Thanksgiving, A Biblical Commandment 


       If you were to ask me what is the most American holiday, I would say, Thanksgiving. It is a 

wonderful time of the year. It comes in Autumn when the heat, cold and usually severe storms are not 

occurring. It’s often beautiful, especially in those areas where the leaves have turned and softly covered 

the earth in splendid colors like a rainbow blanket upon the earth. It’s a time we think of Pilgrims, 

Indians, turkey and pumpkin pie. I remember growing up, those who were preparing the Thanksgiving 

dinner would say, “Now don’t eat too much breakfast; save room for your Thanksgiving meal.” This 

humors me, as if a challenge is given that should we not eat too much breakfast we could possibly finish 

everything that was prepared. As I think back at the scene of the table with enough leftovers to last a 

week, it reminds me how wonderful it is to live in America, where God has abundantly blessed us. God 

said to His people in the Old Testament, "The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy 

storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the 

LORD thy God giveth thee" (Deuteronomy 28:8). We need to be aware this was the blessing contingent 

upon Israel’s walk with the Lord. God help us to come back to the Lord as a nation, that we, too, might 

maintain His gracious blessing! 

        As we prepare our hearts for another Thanksgiving, let us keep in mind that thanksgiving for the 

child of God is not to be only an annual event, but a state of mind before the Lord. Hebrews 13:15, says, 

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving 

thanks to his name.” In light of this, we see thanksgiving is to be continual and we are to express it 


        Giving thanks is the very attitude and atmosphere of heaven! Revelation 4:9 says, “... give glory and 

honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:17 gives us 

a glimpse of the magnification of our Lord in glory, “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, 

which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” 

        Being thankful is the way in which we approach God, as is illustrated in the passage that says, 

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless 

his name” (Psalm 100:4). We can see in the initiating point of becoming a Christian, we enter into 

salvation with a thankful heart. The Word of God says of those who are not trusting the Lord for 

salvation, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but 

became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1; 21). To refuse to 

humble ourselves and give thanks is the attitude of the unregenerate. According to the Bible, we need to 

give thanks. Let us therefore, give thanks: 

1. For Our Provision. 

        In Scripture, when our Lord fed the four thousand, He taught us to first be thankful before we ate 

and for what we ate: “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and 

gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude” (Matthew 15:36). Christ did it again in John 

6:11, “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the 

disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” We understand 

that it was an ancient Hebrew custom to give thanks after one eats. Our Lord seems to set a precedent to 

give thanks before we receive. It is an act of faith when we believe that our needs will definitely be met 

through Christ (Philippians 4:19). Our Lord’s act of thanksgiving for the meal stands out, for after he fed 

the multitude the Bible says, “(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where 

they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks)” (John 6:23). 

        Paul followed the same pattern in Acts 27:35, “And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and 


gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” 

        Let us also give thanks: 

2. For Friends 

        Listen to the great Apostle as he gives thanks for the people God has brought into his life: 

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to 

give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:15,16). II Thessalonians 2:13, 

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord....” 

        Paul is so dogmatic about being thankful for one another, that if there has been a falling out between 

believers, he commands, "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel 

against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is 

the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in 

one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:13-15). We are the Body of Christ and God intends for us to 

get along one with another.  

        Also, let us give thanks: 

3. When It Doesn’t Make Common Sense. 

        Christians have been born from above and we of all people on earth should live the uncommon life. 

Too often we are tempted to respond in a common way. Someone gets mad at us, and in childish revenge 

we try to get back at them. I have heard it said, even if we cannot give thanks for our circumstances, we 

can always give thanks in the Lord. Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, 

Rejoice." But the Bible also says to go a little farther with this when we are exhorted, “In every thing give 

thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). We are to look 

at everything God directs and permits as His will and He tells us to be content with His choice of 

circumstance, "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11). 

Also included in this form of thanksgiving is to be thankful for the people He, in sovereignty, places in 

our path. Recently, I heard Charles “Tremendous” Jones commending us to continue to work with 

people, no matter how difficult they become. He said, “don’t give up on people, because they are all we 

have to work with!” How simple, but true! We are to be thankful for all persons placed in our field of 

reference. The Bible says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and 

giving of thanks, be made for all men” (I Timothy 2:1). 

        Daniel continued to give thanks to God, even when he was faced with death in the lion’s den, “Now 

when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his 

chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks 

before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10). This is not a common man! His dignified spirituality 

is reflected in the phrase, “...and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” This should speak to 

all of us to be never changing in giving thanks all the time, for all people, and for all things. 

        Finally. Let us give thanks: 

4. For Calvary 

        Psalm 119:62 says, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous 

judgments”. In contrasts, one of the most often used statements in the Psalms is a command to give 

thanks for God’s mercies. For instance from the beginning of the 118th Psalm to the end it says, “O give 

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thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 118:1,29). How can 

praise for God’s holy judgment be harmonized with His mercy? There is one way only, the Bible says, 

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10). At 

the cross, Holy God in Jesus Christ, took the hand of unholy man and brought us together. And through 

His death we enjoy the righteous kiss of redemption because God’s judgment was satisfied in our Lord’s 

vicarious death.  

        Our response to Calvary should always be thanksgiving, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable 

gift” (II Corinthians 9:15). I appreciate the man who said, “Thank God, I not what I used to be and even 

though I am not what I ought to be, thank God I am not all that I’m going to be”. This is all possible 

because of the cross. I usually begin my time of prayer with thanksgiving for my Savior who died for me. 

This perspective enhances my whole time of prayer. From the viewpoint of the cross, priorities are 

adjusted and life is appreciated to the maximum! 

                                                                      - Pastor Pope -