What does it mean to Give Thanks to God?
Well, the words give thanks come from the Hebrew word Yadah, which means “to make public acknowledgment” in conjunction with another Hebrew word Yad, which means “hand.” So, in essence, to give thanks to God really means to lift our hands in public acknowledgment Him. But do we as people give thanks to God like we should?
Giving thanks to God is one of the most important things we as Christians and people should do because it is only through God that we are alive and it’s only through God that we wake up each morning. In Psalms 35:18, David calls the nation of Israel and even us today to give thanks to God before people.
“18. I will give you thank in the great assembly; I will praise you among many people”
We see in this Bible verse that David is asking us to come together as Christians and to give praise and thanks to the Lord. In the Bible, there are multiple references to giving thanks and praise to God and the one that I can think of is when the Israelites praised God for their deliverance from Egypt and it’s the very first psalm in the whole Bible.
In Exodus 15:1-18, the Israelites sing a song to God thanking Him for their deliverance where they say in verse 2, “2. … He is my God, and I will praise Him. My father’s God, and I will exalt Him” and I like this verse because, in each lyric of the psalm, it’s saying that we will exalt His name and praise Him and is giving praise to God for all that He has done for them.
I recently read a blog post by WordPress blogger Dynaxty entitled “Be Thankful” where he talks about giving thanks to God and in the blog post, Dynaxty said, “Giving thanks to God for what he has done for us implies that we are not unmindful of his love and blessings. Thanksgiving gladdens God’s heart and shows how grateful and appreciative we are.”
I liked this quote because when we give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, we aren’t forgetting the blessings and love that He has shown us. In the Bible, there are many references to giving thanks to God and the one that I think of is Jesus and the Ten Lepers from Luke 17:12-19. In Luke 17:12-19, Jesus sees 10 men who were lepers and thus couldn’t enter Jerusalem and Jesus told the lepers to go to the priests and along the way they were cleansed.
But here is where the act of thanksgiving, one of the former lepers went back to Jesus in verses 15-16, “15. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16. and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”
Billy Graham said, “A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.”
Also, in Dynaxty’s blog post, there were several quotes that I feel we as Christians and people should keep in mind and remember whenever we feel that we are forgetting to thank God.
- “Being thankful means that we thank God not only in good times, it also means being thankful in the midst of challenges.”
- “God is always with those who give him thanks and to think that there’s always something to be thankful for.”
- “The fact that we are alive and we know that we are alive is enough to thank God…”
- “We have every reason to give God thanks for it is a noble addiction to give thanks unto God.”
- “… Calm down and count your blessings”
- “Gratitude is what determines your ultimate altitude”
- “Being thankful brings about positive disposition in our relationship with God and man.”
- “A grateful person is a joy to be around because he or she always have a reason to give thanks and such person is confident, happy and hopeful because the joy of the Lord is a source of strength.”
- “Ungrateful people do not see reasons to give thanks because they whines and complains.”
- “Thanksgiving is a very rich rostrum for the manifestation of signs and wonders.”
- “Thanksgiving can be likened to a recurrent expenditure we must service on a daily basis.”
- “If God still means anything to us then praise and thanksgiving is the only way to show it.”
Aiden Wilson Tozer said, “Be thankful, but be careful that you don’t become so enamored of God’s good gifts that you fail to worship the giver.”
I also recently read a devotional by Pocket Fuel called, “Give Thanks” which talks about giving thanks. In the devotional, it said, “Thankfulness is a powerful position to live from. Yes, it’s a position. You can choose to be thankful in all circumstances, and it goes beyond seeing the cup as half full instead of half empty” and I like this quote because it shows that thankfulness is a position and you can either choose to be thankful or not, but thankfulness goes beyond the scope of being half empty and without Christ.
The Apostle Paul even tells the people of Thessalonica that they should rejoice in all things because it’s the will of Jesus Christ saying in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “16. Rejoice always, 17. pray without ceasing, 18. in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The themes of giving thanks and gratitude to God reminds me of a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick called, “Graduating in Gratitude” where he speaks on the topics of gratitude and thanksgiving. In the sermon, Steven Furtick said, “When you get there you won’t forget who brought you” and I think this quote speaks to all of us as people and as Christians because if we forget who brought us out of our circumstances that come our way.
Also, in the sermon, Steven Furtick has several quotes on the gratitude and thanksgiving that I feel us as people and as Christians should take to heart.
- “God’s gifts alone are not able give you joy.”
- “God’s gifts can only bring you joy when they are joined with your gratitude.”
- “You can be surrounded by all these blessings… but if you don’t know how to turn the blessing into praise; it will turn to pride in your heart and your life will never be filled with joy.”
- “Maybe what you need in your life isn’t the next level of accomplishment but the next level of appreciation for what you have…”
- “If you grow in gifts but don’t grow in gratitude what’ve you gained.”
- “Gratitude is not natural.”
- “Gratitude without practice maybe a little like faith without works. It’s not alive.”
- “While God is blessing you. You ought not sit there and act like you earned it or act like you deserved it.”
- “When God brings you to the table and feeds you His Word, say the blessing.”
- “Thank God for the…”
- “Your praise is past due”
- “While God is blessing you. You ought not sit there and act like you earned it or act like you deserved it.”
Steven Furtick said, “You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.”
What I liked about the sermon was that he spoke of gratitude and really giving God the praise for all that He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives. We, as Christians and as people should never forget the sacrifice that Christ gave give thanks to Him because He didn’t have to come down to Earth and redeem us, but He did in order to give us a relationship with the Father.
In 1 Timothy 1:12-13, Paul is telling young Timothy about his own past as a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians as Saul saying, “12. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13. although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
I liked this verse because Paul tells us exactly what we, as Christians and people are when we were in sin. I feel that Paul is telling us that like him, we are blasphemers, persecutors, and insolent people ignorant in our unbelief but also because he is trying to tell us that we should be thanking Christ because He has counted us as His own and has enabled us to go out and create disciples of all nations.
I also read another devotional by Pocket Fuel entitled, “Thankful” where it talks about giving thanks and in the devotional, it says a quote that I think we as Christians should remember when we start to feel ungrateful, “Thankfulness is such a key attitude in life. It grounds you in reality, it widens your perspective, it keeps your heart from greed and corruption, it helps you see others in a positive light, it opens up joy in your life and so much more.”
As we come into the season of giving, we, as people and as Christians should remember that we should be giving thanks to the One who gave us everything because even during the End of Days, we will and should be giving Him praise and gratitude as shown in Revelation 7:11-12 where all of Heaven praises His Name saying, “11. All of the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell to their faces before the throne and worshiped God 12. saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
Ezra Taft Benson said, “The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of to be grateful for, the happier we become.”
- “We have MUCH to be thankful for… yes, we go through trying times, deep tragedies, and challenging moments, but in every season, we can thank God for Jesus if nothing else, and Jesus is in fact all we need”
- “Give thanks to Lord – generously, thickly, honestly… turn your heart towards Him thanking Him for all that He has done, is doing and will do. He is a good God – HE IS A GOOD GOD!”
- “Sometimes we can only see that goodness through the focus of thankfulness. If you have trouble believing in the goodness of God, just start thanking Him – thank Him for salvation.”
- “Enter His presence by thanking Him for His unfailing and enduring love…”
In the end, though, giving thanks to God is one of the essential things that I feel we as people and as Christians should always give to God because it’s because of Him that we are able to breathe, wake up every day, and are even able to move. Give thanks to Christ every day because if it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t have the intimate relationship we have with God.
So, what will you do?
Will you give thanksgiving to God?
Will you boldly go and praise His Name; even if you’re the only one?
Or, Will you remain prideful and forget all that God has done in your life?
Benson, Ezra. “The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of to be grateful for, the happier we become.” http://www.azquotes.com/quote/578577 . Accessed 23 Nov 2017.
Dynaxty. “Be Thankful”, 12 Nov 2017, https://dynaxty.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/be-bythankful/ . Accessed 19 Nov 2017.
Furtick, Steven. “Graduating in Gratitude – Full.Filled (Part 4)”, YouTube, uploaded by Elevation Church, 2 years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADnHiH3es7I . Accessed 21 Nov 2017.
Furtick, Steven. “You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.” http://www.azquotes.com/quote/855011 . Accessed 21 Nov 2017.
Graham, Billy. “A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.” http://www.azquotes.com/quote/779513 . Accessed 22 Nov 2017.
Tozer, Aiden. “Be thankful, but be careful that you don’t become so enamored of God’s good gifts that you fail to worship the giver.” http://www.azquotes.com/quote/907832 . Accessed 23 Nov 2017.
Author Unknown. “I Will Praise Him”, https://shareaverse.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/i-will-praise-him-2/ . Accessed 23 Nov 2017.
Author Unknown. “1 Thessalonians 5:16-18”, https://dailyverses.net/1-thessalonians/5/16-18 . Accessed 21 Nov 2017.
Author Unknown. “1 Timothy 1:12”, http://www.verseoftheday.com/en/10182015/ . Accessed 24 Nov 2017.
Author Unknown. “Names Of God: W4D4”, https://lovegodgreatly.com/ . Accessed 24 Nov 2017.
Ferrin, Keith. “Thankfulness Challenge 2017 – Week 3”, 15 Nov 2017, https://keithferrin.com/ , https://keithferrin.com/thankfulness-challenge-2017-week-3/ . Accessed 22 Nov 2017.
Quatrone, Joe. “Lessons from a Leper (Luke 17:11-17)”, 16 Sep 2013, https://joequatronejr.com/ , https://joequatronejr.com/2013/09/16/lessons-from-a-leper/ . Accessed 22 Nov 2017.
Taylor. “Ephesians 5 20”, 11 Oct 2012, https://www.flickr.com/photos/altay02/8094491162 . Accessed 19 Nov 2017.