Martin Luther, in Table Talk, said, “If in His gifts and benefits God were more sparing and close-handed, we should learn to be thankful…The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.” There is no questioning the fact that our society has a disregard for God and His gracious love and care for His creation. Many today would see God as either uninvolved or unconcerned with our lives, dead, or altogether non-existent. It’s difficult to suggest to a person that struggles to believe God even exists, that the Heavenly Father is infinitely worthy of all our thanks and praise.
In Psalm 95, the psalmist says in the first two verses, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” As the call is given to come and worship God, the connection is made here, and in other passages, between our giving thanks and our offering praise. In Psalm 100:4 we read, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Four times in Psalm 107 we are told to “give thanks.” And in verse 31 of that Psalm, the psalmist says, “Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people and praise Him in the council of the elders.” Thanksgiving and praise are undoubtedly associated.
It is so easy for us to take the blessings we have for granted. Our society tells us we need to lookout for number one, that if we simply do our best and exhaust all possibilities we can have all that we ever hope for. What ends up happening is our understanding of the reasoning behind our being blessed tends to shift. We begin thinking that we are solely responsible for all our greatness. We believe that we have earned the great things we have in this life. Now, hard work never hurt anyone. And I believe that we must work diligent-ly in all that we do, as working for the Lord (Col. 3:23). But, we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking we have acquired blessings simply because we exerted a little energy. Sadly, we often overlook the source of our blessings. Steve Shepherd, in For Granted or Gratitude, said, “Our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much he meant to us. Our water becomes too polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water. Why is it Lord, that we take for granted the uncounted blessings of life until they are re-moved from us?” Let’s always remember that God supplies all our blessings. May we ever praise and glorify His holy name. – Ken Harris, WindSong Notes
Dear Lord and Father of mankind forgive our foolish ways.
Restore us to our rightful minds; In purer lives our service find, In deeper reverence praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard beside the Syrian Sea, the gracious calling of the Lord, let us, like them, without a word, rise up and follow thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above, where
Jesus knelt to share with thee the silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!
Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease; take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace.
Words by John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807-1892
Music by Frederick C. Maker, 1844-1927