The power of Thanksgiving
As the final quarter of the year draws near, there is a natural tendency to think more about being grateful. Some Churches in Nigeria prepare to celebrate their yearly Harvest service with hymns of praise, while others hold a Thanksgiving service; and countries like the United States of America have a national Thanksgiving holiday.
Examples abound in the Bible, which show, not only the need for, but the importance and power of giving God thanks. Hannah sang a song of thanksgiving, when God answered her unspoken prayer for a son after years of barrenness. She bore five more children after Samuel. (I Sam:2). King David thanked God, even during very trying times, as seen in some of the numerous Psalms he wrote (Ps 26 and 100); and the Bible says in Acts 13:22 that he was a man after God’s own heart.
The Israelites, at the instance of Nehemiah, gave thanks, singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God at the dedication of the wall in Jerusalem. In the New Testament, Christ Jesus gave thanks before raising Lazarus from the dead. He also gave thanks before He multiplied five loaves and two fishes, which then fed five thousand hungry people.
These Scriptural examples show the importance and power of being grateful, even when we might yet be in the middle of praying about a very difficult situation such as illness, poverty, injustice, and so on.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, author, Mary Baker Eddy asks, ‘Are we grateful for the good already received?’ This can be a startling question, especially if there seems to be very little, or even nothing to be grateful for. Eddy follows the question with the promise that gratitude fits us to see more of God’s goodness already and always at hand.
Isn’t this what Christ Jesus taught? He proved the practical effects of giving gratitude, even in the face of seeming lack and adversity. Gratitude begins to get rid of worry, doubt and fear. It brings a sense of expectation and hope, which result in a deeper trust in God’s disposal of human events. As we learn to be grateful for God’s abundant and unending goodness to man, we prove that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a far off unattainable goal, but it is within reach here and now. It also explains why Paul says in Philippians 4:4, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.’
Whether during the harvest season, a special national holiday, at a Thanksgiving service, or when facing an overwhelming challenge, Christ Jesus’ example teaches Christians of the need to witness more of God’s presence here and now. Everyday, there is a good reason to give God thanks.
Mojisola George, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Nigeria West
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