Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 118:28, 29
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
I don’t know if there is a more positive duty that is pressed upon our consciences than the duty of thanksgiving. It’s for our own benefit. Remember what the psalmist says, “It is good to give thanks.” It is good not just because it brings praise to God, but it is good for us I believe emotionally, and you could even say there is a psychological benefit for giving thanks. People who are generally the most happy people are those who are the most thankful.
Why is thanksgiving so important? It is pretty simple, we glorify God by thanksgiving. Thanksgiving takes the focus off us and puts it on God. Thanksgiving is directed to God. That is not natural. The natural man or unregenerate man according to Romans 1, refuses to give thanks to God. It is not native to the sinful heart. Sin blinds us to the goodness of God. Sin blinds us to the gifts of God; it is proud, greedy, selfish, makes us focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Sin always has a negative lens, focuses on the bad circumstances of life or my trials. It tends to complain and murmur quite a bit. Thanksgiving focuses upon our lives through the eyes of faith. We see God’s goodness, we see His faithfulness; we see His grace. Thanksgiving never fails to see us as debtors, what we have and what we have received. Thanksgiving under the gospel has what we could call a Christological lens. We are thankful to God for what we have in Jesus Christ.
Think of the letters that the apostle Paul wrote. So many of them begin and are saturated with thanksgiving. Here is a guy who if anybody would have had good cause to complain it would be the apostle Paul. Think of all of the sufferings that that man endured and he gives us quite a list in 2 Corinthians 11. But he never forgot what he was by the grace of God. He focuses upon the spiritual blessings. We often give thanks for our material or temporal blessings, not our spiritual blessings. The greatest of all those blessings is Jesus Christ. That is what we were reminded of this past Lord’s Day. The focus was upon Christ as our mediator, as our Lord and as our king.