The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
client login


      With Thanksgiving Day approaching, many folks regard this national observance merely as a holiday designed to watch ballgames and to eat a lot of good food. And, while gathering with family and friends certainly is enjoyable and edifying, limiting one’s expression of thanks to a once-a-year experience that “starts with the gobbler and ends with the cobbler” may reflect a somewhat shallow attitude and an incomplete approach for being thankful and exhibiting a grateful heart.     
      I would submit that followers of Jesus Christ must have an attitude of gratitude that is far-reaching, contagious, continuous and uncontainable. After all, the apostle Paul instructed the Christians at Thessalonica to “give thanks/be thankful in everything/all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The philosopher Seneca asserted “Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” Similarly, an anonymous individual declared “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” A grateful heart gives thanks in everything and is regularly observable in those who exhibit an attitude of gratitude.
      Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul highlighted an attitude of gratitude for God who gives us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57), who always leads us (2 Corinthians 2:14), and who has provided an indescribable gift of love and grace (2 Corinthians 9:15). Christians, therefore, should “always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).     
      How might an attitude of gratitude toward God be expressed? How can a person with a grateful heart give tangible and observable expression of giving thanks in everything? I believe that an attitude of gratitude can and should be expressed toward God through Worship.
      Regarding an attitude of gratitude expressed through worship, the psalmist offered the challenge to “come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song,” to “bow down in worship…(and) kneel before the LORD our Maker”(95:2 & 6), to “enter his gates with thanksgiving” (and) “give thanks to him and praise his name” (100:4). The psalmist further expressed his gratitude for God in “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving” (69:30). The writer of Hebrews echoed the psalmist’s emphasis on worship that flows from an attitude of gratitude with “…let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (12:28).      
      An attitude of gratitude toward God also may be expressed through Witness. A witness is one who has seen or heard something and testifies to what has been seen or heard…what is known to be true. King David exhorted Israel to express thanks to God and to bear witness to Him (what they knew to be true) among the nations (1 Chronicles 16:8; Psalm 105:1). Christians should respond to Christ’s invitation to follow him without hesitation (Matthew 4:19) and to be witnesses for Christ in the daily routine and flow of life (2 Corinthians 2:14b-15; Matthew 28:19-20) within their sphere of influence and beyond (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:20). As witnesses for Jesus, Christians must be prepared to bear testimony in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) refusing to be ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16) or ashamed to testify about the Lord (2 Timothy 1:8) while always being prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks about the hope that is evident in the believer’s life (1 Peter 3:15).  
      In addition to expressing an attitude of gratitude for God through worship and witness, an attitude of gratitude may be expressed further through Work focused on ministry to others (Matthew 22:39) through which God receives the glory (Matthew 5:16). After all, believers in Christ are created anew (2 Corinthians 5:17) as God’s workmanship designed and intended to perform works of service (Ephesians 2:10) by representing Jesus as his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Although Christians are called to be “laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9), the number of workers availing themselves to the opportunity to join God where he is working is sorely lacking despite the abundance of jobs (Matthew 9:35-38) and the admonition to “always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord” coupled with the affirmation that “you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 5:58).      
      May our thanksgiving truly be “thanks living” as each of us strive daily to express an attitude of gratitude toward God through our worship, our witness, and our work. May each of us also hear and heed the challenge to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:15-17).


      Heavenly Father, May I give thanks in all circumstances whether such take place on the highest mountain or in the lowest valley. May my gratitude for you and my relationship with you through your son Jesus Christ be expressed tangibly and sincerely through my worship, work, and witness. May my light so shine before others that they observe your presence in my life in such a way that they are drawn to you through me. Amen.