Thanksgiving Service – Stop and Think

By Lilian Florian

Psalm 145 says:
1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

In this Psalm, David expressed His gratitude to God through praise. He finds so many amazing traits in God to talk about and is certain that God’s people too will declare His goodness and greatness to all because they know Him. But how about us? Are we really thankful to God? Do we really know He is as good as David describes Him and even more? Do we really believe that He is worthy of our thanksgiving? Do we give Him thanks every day for His mercies are new every day? Aren’t they? Do we realize it? If not, why?

Many times people share about God’s goodness in their life and ask what I am thankful to God for, I have remained silent and deep in thought. I have struggled remembering the good things God has done in my life. My mind has been blank, and I had not been able to recall much or as least not a recent reason for thanksgiving. I remember how good He has been to others in the Bible and around me. Why?

How many times we forget what God has done and how much we can trust Him? How many times we are too busy with our work, responsibilities and relationships that we cannot thank the One who’s given us all? How many times we even take it for granted, thinking we deserve that and even more? Do we actually think we have achieved all by our strength and wits, forgetting that it is He who gave us strength and intelligence? Pride can make us indifferent. We can take His blessings for granted; we can take Jesus and our salvation for granted.

I have underestimated His work and call it “too simple to share” or “not to miraculous and amazing to share”. I have let pride and fear of man cover me in “shyness” and keep my mouth shut when I should be sharing what really matters: How good and great God is!

No wonder the world has set special dates to celebrate fathers, mothers, the nation, and so on. We forget what really matters, we become indifferent to what’s good, and we become proud and selfish.

It is time to stop and think who God is and what He has done in your life. Thanksgiving is about looking back into the past to what God has done and around to His work in this time. It’s about checking our hearts and realizing the transformation He has done even when our circumstances may not have changed much. It’s about looking to the outside, to others and what God has done in them. If we look carefully to the details of life as well as the broader picture, we will find thousands reasons to give thanks to God today. It is only when we stop and think that we will truly realize His goodness, feel thankful, and express our gratitude and love as David did in Psalm 145.

True thanksgiving is the product of realizing and acknowledging God’s goodness to us in what He gives, what He doesn’t give, and who He is—faithful and constant.

Acknowledge Him in your life; He is our Father who gives us whatever is good and perfect (Jas. 1:17). Praise Him, thank Him, and proclaim how amazing He is and how much He has done. And don’t forget that even in the most dark times when you may not find much to give thanks, we can give thanks to Jesus because He died for us to give us life and show us the way back to God. May our desire be that our mouths speak in praise of the Lord and that every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. (Psa. 145: 21)

Finally, I just want to thank God for His faithfulness and love. He brought me here in this season, and although I expected to work or study, He gave me time to spend it with Him and to serve the Church. I have been blessed so much in the services, life groups, teaching sessions, and office. I have grown in faith, confidence, and love because I have been loved, humbled and challenged through God’s Word and your testimonies. I am grateful for each of you because God has spoken to me and worked in my life through your words and actions. I thank God and all of you for challenging me and encouraging me to know and love God more and to give more than I have received. Thank you, Jesus!