1711) Why Be Thankful?

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By Eric Burgdorf, Pastor of Hope Free Lutheran Church, Wyoming, Minnesota

          “Not until you say you are sorry.”  Eventually the battle of wills usually ends with the child begrudgingly telling his sibling he is sorry.  But when the apology is made, it is often without the appropriate emotion— maybe even with a defiant look in the eyes.  We may have been guilty of it ourselves.  Certainly we have observed kids, friends, employers, criminals, businessmen, newscasters, politicians, etc. give apologies that just don’t ring true.

            What about our saying “Thank you”?  Is it forced?  An obligation?  Social etiquette?  Sure, we give thanks to God before we eat, but we aren’t sure the asparagus really deserves thanks.

            Oh, that our thanks be genuine! — to sound genuine to those who may hear, and more importantly, that God, who can’t be fooled, knows it is genuine.  And that can be difficult— for many reasons.

            I may not be giving thanks with sincerity because I am not satisfied.  It isn’t enough.  I want more.  I want better.  I want newer. . . .

            We could list many reasons why it is so often difficult to give thanks but instead of dwelling on them, let’s list reasons to give thanks:

                 God loves us. (That kind of says it all!)

                 God is creative.

                 God is all-powerful.

                 God is all-knowing. He knows all the ramifications of every act.

                 God is everywhere.  He is present with us in the good times and the bad.

                 God is patient.

                 God is forgiving.

                 God sees with perfect perspective.

                 God has great—eternal—plans for us.

          So, when it is hard to give thanks, or when it seems that we are forced against our wills to give thanks, let’s look to God and in faith trust His love, His power, His wisdom for what we have, His wisdom for what we don’t have, and His timing.  And thanks that this world is nothing in comparison with what He has planned for us!

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II Corinthians 9:15  —  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Philippians 4:6-7  —  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 7:12  —  Amen!  Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen!

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O Lord, keep us sensitive to the grace that is around us.  May the familiar not become neglected.  May we see your goodness in our daily bread, and may the comforts of our home take our thoughts to your mercy.  We give you thanks.  Amen.

–J. H. Jowett  (1864-1923)