It stares us right in the face, yet it must be hiding; many miss it. Few actions have bigger consequences to stabilize and improve our situation than genuine thanksgiving. It is not a thought or an attitude, it is an action. Two words in one; thanks and giving. Without both of them it is not thanksgiving. There must be real thanks and it must be given. I now live in the south where many moms make their kids use manners under threat of pain. The world stops; the focus of the entire gathering zeros in on the 8 year old who accidently forgot to say thank you to someone who gave them a cookie. I was taken back, when I first moved here to find 20 year old men saying to me, “Yes sir, no sir, and thank you sir.” after every sentence. I have also seen the opposite. Some, unfortunately when asked, just say sure, and give no follow-up thank you after receiving something.
Thanksgiving changes your world. First, it works on your inner man. It changes the way you feel, your perspective, and it removes inner garbage like hate, selfishness and the victimization of self pity. It also changes the world around you. The atmosphere of the air in the room is not just hot or cold, or polluted with smoke or fresh as a forest glen. It also has a spiritual composition. It can be filled with Holy Spirit peace, light, warmth and be richly enjoyable. When the spiritual atmosphere of the air is clean, it feels good to be alive. The opposite is a heavy atmosphere of depression, fear, turmoil, confusion, or darkness and evil. Explosive thanksgiving spoken into the air, dissipates the negative and changes the atmosphere to be more peaceful or joyful. Thanksgiving changes your world inside and outside.
The thermostat in your home has 2 roles. It will tell you what temperature the room is at. It will also allow you to change the temperature to make it warmer on cold days.
The abundance or lack of genuine thanksgiving tells you the spiritual temperature in the room. When folks engage in heartfelt thanksgiving the whole world warms up. People can change the spiritual atmosphere around them with thanksgiving. Life becomes so much better when they do. Set the thermostat at house for a cozy thanksgiving warm.
Years ago, I almost died from hypothermia after falling into the waters of a frozen lake. The doctor in the recovery room at the hospital told me that 5 more minutes in that water would have killed me. Some people are freezing in a no thank you, icy lake. It is not others ungratefulness to you that will hurt you. It is you not giving abundant thanks that causes your inner man and the atmosphere around to be frozen. It brings physical sickness of all kinds as well as spiritual dysfunction and emotional paralysis.
Some will say that forgiveness, repentance, and a good proclamation are far more important. I say that if someone genuinely thanks God for the person who offended them, thanks God for the difficult situation they find themselves in, and thanks others for everything they do, they will be well on their way to discovering the other important things I have mentioned.
A Major Theme of Scripture
Thanksgiving is a major theme in the Bible. Once you see it, you will see it everywhere. Jesus emphasized the importance of thanksgiving in the story of the 10 men with leprosy that He healed. The theme of the story is thanksgiving. All were healed but only one made it a priority to express his thanks to Jesus. I am sure the others were thankful too but they failed to express it enthusiastically. I would have thought that the emphasis of the story would focus on the miraculous healing power of Jesus to remove an incurable disease. But no, the theme of the story bypasses the miraculous to emphasize the essential God-inspired atmosphere changer of thanksgiving.
Romans 1:20 – 32, tells us that the depravity of the human race is linked to a lack of thankfulness. People have no excuse for not believing in the God of creation because the evidence in the natural world is overwhelming. Then, because people do not give thanks, a negative chain reaction is set in motion. They begin to walk in darkness. Then they embrace evil and this leads to more darkness until finally they end up with a reprobate mind. That is a place of depravity and wickedness. It all begins when someone is not thankful for what they have been given. A life without thanksgiving is a slow, but decisive death march.
The Bible emphasizes the power of thanksgiving as an essential goal that God is drawing us toward.
“Just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and over flowing with thanksgiving.” Col. 2:6-7
“Know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2Cor. 4:14-15
“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2Cor.9:11
Through these verses, do you see that all of the blessings and the obedience are leading to one focused design? God’s plan is to bring us into an explosive expression of thanksgiving unto Him.
It is like powerful praise and worship only without the singing. It changes us by changing our inner disposition and it changes the atmosphere around us.
The Spring of Life
Thanksgiving is the spring of life. In Israel, water is the most important commodity. Historically, they had 3 sources of drinking water. The first is rain water collected in cisterns. The second is well water that depends on the water table level, which in turn, depends on the rain fall. And the third, which is spring water. It originates from snow melt on the mountains and the vast reservoirs of deep underground lakes. They spring up year round regardless of the rainfall.
That spring water is like thanksgiving. It is the best and the most reliable tool to release the power of God that can change the environment and the atmosphere we live in.
Thanksgiving produces life; it heals the broken heart and sets captives free. Prolonged, heartfelt thanksgiving is a medicine that can bring health and healing to your physical body.
Let this year be full of thanksgiving. Insist upon it in your home. Give thanks to God at every meal, every snack, before bed, and when you rise. Throughout the day thank God for His goodness. Enjoy long sessions of prayer, focused on thanksgiving. Then, thank others constantly. Thank members of your family, your friends, and acquaintances. It will be a spring of life that will bubble up and gush out over the land. Change your whole world with the power of thanksgiving.