After a wonderful week in the deep South celebrating my wife’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary (celebrated this past Tuesday, April 5) with over eighty of her family and some of our own, we were constantly filled with gratitude to God for His covenant mercies and blessings – as well as for the beautiful place in His creation where we could celebrate these mercies and blessings.
And we gave thanks to God often throughout the week – in set times (devotions) and in special times of public fellowship and private conversation. We sang and prayed and read His Word (favorite passages and songs abounded!), and with tears thanked our faithful Father for His amazing grace to sinners such as ourselves. It was a good week together. It was a better than good week together. It was a God-centered, grace-filled, gratitude-displaying time.
Tonight in wondering what to post in light of this, I decided to share these thoughts – and then too, these thoughts from chapter 5 of Joe Thorn’s book Note to Self. That chapter is simply titled “Give Thanks.” You will see why it fits with this post.
The psalmist calls us to ‘enter his gates with thanksgiving and praise,’ which is a call to approach God in gratitude. Why is that? He points to three realities: because God is good, because God is loving, and because God is faithful. A good theologian is thankful, and until you know these truths you are likely to feel entitled and deserving.
How do you know God to be good, loving, and faithful? These attributes were put on display most beautifully in the gospel. God is good, loving, and faithful by not giving you what you deserve (judgment) and by lavishing on you grace unmeasured. He is good and loving in saving us from sin and judgment, giving us hope and life, and adopting us as his own. He is faithful to his Word and his promise to us, that he will not count our sins against us and will continue the work he began in us to completion. On top of this, every good thing you have in this life is a gift from your heavenly Father, and as one who has been justified by the grace of Christ you should see everything in your life as grace that accompanies your salvation [to which we give a hearty AMEN!].
…Does gratitude characterize your thoughts of God? Thankfulness is a good test of your faith. ….Your days, whether easy or difficult, should be filled with thanksgiving because while life changes drastically, your God remains the same forever. He is constant – constantly good, loving, and faithful (pp.43-44).
Now, shall we give this thanks to our great and gracious God tomorrow in our times of public and private worship?