Lisa Earby, a Cleveland, Tennessee, teacher relates a funny story about reading one-on-one with a first grader.
For the first time the student discovered the words “thank you” in print. Lisa hoped her pupil would use some of the reading strategies she’d learned to figure out the words. However, after a few moments, Lisa decided to tell her the word “thank.” When she didn’t respond, Lisa emphatically said, “Thank.”
Somewhat exasperated, the little girl looked up at Lisa and replied in her native Tennessee dialect, “I AM thanking. I AM thanking.”
Obviously, the little girl got the “thinking” confused with “thanking.” However, people who think, thank.
In one of the great texts of the Bible, Psalm 100, we are reminded to think about thanking God.
1Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
This Psalm depicts a spirit of thanksgiving. An attitude of gratitude. A type of thinking that leads to thanking. Consider these three simple points.
(1) The Spirit of Thanksgiving is reflected in our joy. To “shout joyfully” emphatically expresses our enraptured feelings toward our Creator. When we are thankful for God’s goodness and His abundant blessings we are thrilled to worship, delighted to serve, and enthusiastic about letting our feelings be known to others.
Gratitude for God’s blessings is heard in our spirited singing, seen in our sincere service, and witnessed by others as our light brightly shines in the world. As a result, our gratitude is unmistakable.
(2) The Spirt of Thanksgiving is demonstrated in submission. To “know” God is more than just a recitation of facts about God. Or an intellectual acquiescence that He exists. Or some intellectual insights into His character.
Knowing God is about a relationship with Him. It’s about respect. Obedience. Submission. It’s an understanding of who He is. And who we are. He’s the Creator. We’re the creation. He’s the Lord. We’re subjects. He’s the Shepherd. We’re the sheep. That understanding leads to a thankful spirit.
(3) The Spirit of thanksgiving is literally expressed in giving thanks. There can be no doubt about our feelings. Our attitude. Our intentions. We show it. We say it. We sing it.
In his Courageous Living Series on Psalms, my friend Wilson Adams tells a cute story about a little boy who went to birthday party.
On returning home, his mother asked, “Bobby, did you thank Mrs. Jones for the party?”
“Well, I was going to,” replied Bobby. “But a girl ahead of me said, ‘Thank you.’ And Mrs Jones told her not to mention it. So, I didn’t.”
Bobby might have misunderstood. But as adults we get it. Or at least we should. God wants us to mention it. It’s not enough for the Christian in front of us to sing, pray and give thanks. God wants to hear it from me. And from you.
May the spirit of thanksgiving fill your heart. Not just on “Turkey Day” tomorrow. But each and every day of the year.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
We wish for each of our readers a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. As we do annually, ThePreachersWord is going to take a short break until next Monday. God bless.