As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, this is a great time to reflect on the countless things we can be thankful for. But often in the process of such reflection, it seems as though Christians don’t go far enough. We are always quick to point out how much God has materially blessed us, and then stop right there. Western Christians are aware that we live in a state of abundance and prosperity that is foreign to much of the world. We assume, therefore, that that is what we should be thankful for. Surely this is not a bad thing, but should that be the extent of our thankfulness?
Today I was reading in Psalm 92, where I came across these words. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:1-4)
The psalmist affirms that it is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord. He also reveals some of the things he is thankful for :
- To declare your “steadfast love” in the morning.
- Your “faithfulness” by night.
- At the “works of your hands” I sing for joy.
Notice that nowhere does he mention how rich he is or how God has blessed him with an abundance of “stuff.” The psalmist is thankful for God’s steadfast love, His faithfulness, and His mighty works. Whether it be night or day, he lives in a spirit of thanksgiving for all that God has done. As New Testament Christians, we know that we have even more to be thankful for, with the amazing gift of God’s Son, given 2000 years ago.
Now that we know some of “what” we can be thankful for, how can we show this thankfulness? What we find in this passage is not a quiet, inner thankfulness, but a vocal, emotional thankfulness:
- Singing “praises to your name.”
- The use musical instruments – “to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.”
- Being “glad by your work.”
Is it a bad thing to have a quiet, inner thankfulness? Of course not, but in knowing and experiencing the love and faithfulness of God, we are compelled to express that thankfulness in vocal, powerful, and emotive ways, just as the psalmist does.
Yes, it’s true that God has blessed us with abundance and material prosperity, but why not let the world know the more important reason(s) for our joy and thankfulness. Tell your friends and neighbors of a Savior who is more beautiful and glorious than anything the world has to offer and Who is mighty to save. He is the ultimate reason for our joy and thankfulness and the hope that we profess. Let’s not forget that in this season of Thanksgiving, or at any time for that matter.