Let Us Give Thanks

“I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” —Psalm 116:17

THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES on the fourth Thursday of this month, millions of people will—for a few hours—turn away from the regular pursuits of life and, in a nominal way at least, give thanks to God for the blessings of the year. Among these will be many sincere worshipers of God, those who at heart are desirous of doing his will in all that they think, and say, and do. With many, Thanksgiving Day will be one of feasting and merrymaking, and happy indeed will be those who remember that all the blessings of life which they enjoy from day to day come to them from the Giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17), even the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth.

It is appropriate at all times to give thanks unto the Lord, and the consecrated followers of the Master do not wait for special occasions to express their appreciation to their Heavenly Father for the spiritual and material blessings which are daily their portion.

The Apostle Paul wrote that we should give thanks in everything, and if we follow this admonition, to us every day will be one of thanksgiving—yes, in every hour of the day there will be much for which our hearts will turn to the Lord in grateful appreciation.

It is also appropriate that we observe special occasions of thanksgiving. At such times we can recall in a more particular sense the many ways in which the Lord has blessed us throughout the year, and recalling these, renew our determination to show our appreciation to the Lord by more zealously paying our vows of consecration to him, rendering unto him, not only with our lips but with our lives as well, the praise that is due his great and holy name, and, again we are glad for any occasion to “give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.”—Ps. 106:1


There is never a time in the Christian life when the blessings received from the Lord are not more abundant than we could reasonably ask or expect. If we are not in the habit of noting from day to day the many ways in which our Father manifests his blessings toward us, we will be surprised, when noting them, to realize what God has really done for us. We cannot, of course, count all of our blessings. Should we attempt to do so, we would find, even as did the psalmist, that “they are more than can be numbered.”—Ps. 40:5

Many of the Lord’s blessings are common to all of his people, differing only in the manner in which they apply to their individual experiences in life. Along physical lines there are the blessings of the sunshine and the rain, and of food, shelter, and raiment. To all of his people the Lord gives spiritual strength and guidance. He fills them with his Spirit in proportion as they are emptied of self, and devote themselves to the doing of his will. How thankful indeed we should all be for the assurance that he is more willing to give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him than is an earthly parent to give good gifts to his children!—Luke 11:13

We can all be thankful for the Lord’s grace that through another year has kept us from falling—that we are still rejoicing in the truth and in the privilege we have of laying down our lives in his service. This is a great cause for thankfulness. True, we expected that the Lord would continue to hold us in the hollow of his hand, for we relied upon his grace to help in every time of need. But we recall the Apostle Peter’s admonition in which he informs us that it is only if we “do these things” that we can have the assurance that we shall “never fall.” (II Pet. 1:10) If, therefore, we have been kept from falling by the wayside, it means that God has been pleased with our efforts to do his will and that it is because of this that he has blessed us with his sustaining grace.

Some of us have been ‘in the truth ‘ for many, many years, and how thankful we can be that throughout these years the Lord has become ever more precious to us, and that his truth—the glorious truth of the divine plan—has continued to increase in brilliance as we have learned to understand it better. That we have maintained a clear vision of the great fundamentals of the divine plan is evidence of the Lord’s keeping power in the lives of those who have no will of their own, but are determined that his will only shall rule supreme in their lives, regardless of what that might mean in the way of sacrificing the flesh and its interests.

Others of us have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth within more recent years—some, indeed, within 1996. How we rejoice in this! It is impossible to give thanks adequately to the Lord for opening the eyes of our understanding in order that we might, through the vision of present truth, behold his glory. This we know, however, that whereas once we were spiritually blind, now we can see. And oh, how glorious the vision that enables us to comprehend the divine plan for the blessing of both the church and the world! May our ‘first love’ for the Lord, and for his truth never grow cold! May our appreciation daily increase and our thankfulness overflow more and more!

During the year, many of us have been richly blessed through the privilege of fellowship with one another in our local ecclesias and at our convention gatherings. How spiritually stimulating this has been! And if our fellowship has been truly that of the Spirit, it has meant much more than merely rejoicing together in the Lord. Of those who speak “often” together concerning the divine plan, the prophet tells us that the Lord hearkens, that he hears, and that a “book of remembrance was written.” (Mal. 3:16,17) Yes, even where ‘two or three’ join in fellowship, the Lord is in their midst. How we should praise him for the blessing he bestows upon those who gather in his name.

Our Heavenly Father has continued to give his children opportunities to serve him by serving one another, and by bearing witness to the truth. Surely we should always be thankful for our privileges of ambassadorship. Many of these opportunities have been ours as individuals. Individually, we have been able to speak a word for the Master and for the truth, perhaps to a neighbor, or a friend, or to some we have met in our association with coworkers at the office, or others in one way or another. It has been possible to give a tract or a kingdom card here or there. Some have enjoyed the privilege of distributing literature at fair booths, conveying the kingdom message to hundreds and even thousands.

In many places, both in the Old and New Testaments, God’s people are exhorted to rejoice and give thanks—or, in other words, experience and express joy, gladness, happiness, serenity of soul. Indeed, joy and gladness derived from the present blessings which the Father provides for his children—blessings for which we should continually give thanks—are part of the present inheritance of the New Creation.

On four occasions we are definitely told that Jesus gave thanks: (1) At the feeding of the multitude (Matt. 15:36); (2) When his testimony was rejected (Matt. 11:25); (3) At the grave of Lazarus (John 11:41); (4) In the face of his own death (Luke 22:17-22). John says, “As he is, so are we in this world.” (I John 4:17) We are in a similar position as our Lord, called to have some similar experiences. So may we not draw four parallels here of things in which, if we are living up to our privileges, we may specially give thanks?

First: the message of truth, as a sharp sickle is not only gathering the Lord’s people together, but the good news of the coming kingdom is being preached in all the world for a witness. Among the multitudes, many truth-hungry ones are being fed with some of the simple truths of the Word of God, and are rejoicing in the knowledge of the love of God, and the blessings of restitution soon to come to the poor groaning creation. Surely all who have the Master’s Spirit can rejoice and give thanks also in this fact rejoicing with those that do rejoice.—Rom. 12:15

Second: ‘Jesus rejoiced and gave thanks when his testimony was rejected by the wise and learned, but was received by a few humble and sincere ones who were willing to become his disciples. Is not the same thing happening today, and can we not rejoice and give thanks for the infinitely wise and effective method used by the Lord for gathering the church, as well as in the lessons to be taught in the Millennial Judgment Day to the wise and learned, whose self-sufficiency, self complacency, and self-importance, now prevent them from seeing and accepting the glad tidings?

Third: Jesus rejoiced and gave thanks at the grave of Lazarus in view of the resurrection power he was about to exercise. This surely has its parallel today as we contemplate the power of the Christ soon to be exercised for the awakening from death, and the blessing of all the families of the earth! “They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10) Let us be glad in anticipation of this day of universal rejoicing and giving of thanks.

Fourth: Finally, Jesus could give thanks despite the imminence of his own death. Can we not give thanks, too, in view of the solemn thought that we are called to die with him—that we have been justified through our faith in his ransom sacrifice, in order that we might go into death with him—being planted in the likeness of his death, and drinking of his cup of suffering? What higher privilege could be given to any of God’s creatures!

“Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”—I Pet. 4:13

When the Lord spoke to Moses at the burning bush, he was bidden to take off his shoes, with the explanation that the place where he was standing was holy ground. Should we not feel the same way concerning the ‘ground’ on which we are standing today—that ‘higher ground’ of opportunity and honor to which the Lord has now led his people? Realizing the sacredness of the position which is now ours of being the Lord’s ambassadors, let us give attentive ears to his voice, and respond joyfully as he makes clear the various ways he wants us to lay down our lives for him. Surely we can do no less at this Thanksgiving time of the year, than to echo the sentiments of the psalmist when he wrote: “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.”—Ps. 116:17,18

Dawn Bible Students Association
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