Thankful For Or Thankful To?

This is the time of the year when we can get excited about gathering with family for turkey and all the trimmings; we become more thankful because our thoughts turn to the feast, the things that we usually only have at this time of the year.  We sometimes can even taste their goodness before we ever sit down at the table to eat.  Dressing is something we don’t usually see on our tables at any other time except possibly one other and truly it is never often enough.  I wonder why that is and why it seems to be a time when being thankful is seen and felt more than any other.  Surely, we are smart enough to know that there is a difference between being thankful to the giver rather than simply for the gift.  I wonder!

From the time we were little children, most of us were taught to say, “thank you” when someone gave us something.  We probably didn’t really understand what being thankful really meant, but it was impressed upon us by our parents and so we learned to simply say the words without any real show of emotion.  Unfortunately, many of us still categorize the words as simply being polite as our parents instructed.  Have we simply kept the habit or have we actually learned what it is to be thankful and do we say, “thank you” to the One who is really responsible?

God’s word has much to say about being thankful.  Apparently, it is to be a part of our everyday lives, not just for a single event or item.  The Psalmist tells us to Offer to God thanksgiving (50:14) and to enter into His gates with thanksgiving (100:4).  We are not to be concerned with what we want or think we should have, we are to be grateful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and cares that our lives are full of gratitude for the things He has provided for the children that He loves.  I wonder how and why things have changed so very much.

It is true that as society changes we usually end up dropping some habits.  After all there is only so much time in one day.  However, there is one thing that should never change; in fact, it should grow as we grow and that is a spirit of thankfulness.  You really don’t have to spend much time thinking to realize how good the Father is to His children.  And as is true with earthly parents I am sure that He would like to hear from His children how very much we appreciate what He has given us.  That shouldn’t be so hard for us to do so why don’t we do it?

One of my favorite scriptures is found in the book of Psalms – I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (121:1-4)I realize that was quoted from the old King James version, but even today that strikes a chord in my heart. 

So, the question we asked in the beginning actually has two answers that are both valid.  We should be thankful always for our Creator, but we should never forget that He takes pleasure in being thanked by us for the favors we have received.  He leaves us with the job to convey in whatever manner necessary or possible the great love that He has shown us in order that others may come to know and love Him as we do.

Come ye thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple come, raise the song of harvest home.

Kevin Harrison

WCBCS, 7459 S IH 35, Waco, TX, USA