In the United States, the 4th Thursday of November is a day set aside to give thanks to God for His faithful love and bountiful blessings in our lives. This day of Thanksgiving is a wonderful thing, and one of my favorite days of the year.
The Thanksgiving Psalm
It is a very sad thing, however, if our thankfulness to God is limited to one specific day in November. Thanksgiving should be a lifestyle, a holy habit, a continual practice, an overflow from a full and profoundly grateful heart. God’s blessings in our lives certainly warrant that, but it seems to be difficult for us to practice.
I believe Psalm 100, often called “The Thanksgiving Psalm,” is helpful in giving, both, the command to live lives of thanksgiving as well as the key on how we can do it. It is not long, but it is extremely powerful.
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations
Psalm 100: 1-5.
what, why, and how
I love every part of this Psalm. We are told what to do, why to do it, and how we are able to do it. First, we are told that we should live in profound gratitude toward God by shouting and singing, with joyful thanksgiving and praise, to the Lord and all the Earth. We should also offer up our lives in service, serving the Lord with gladness (V.2-3).
In addition, we are told why we should live this way. The bottom line is that the Lord is good. Specifically, we read that God’s lovingkindness (His mercy), and His faithfulness never end (v. 5). They are everlasting, which means they are available for us, our children, our grandchildren, and all generations! His definitive goodness is why we should live in Thanksgiving every day.
Knowing what and why, however, does not mean it is easy for us to live this way.
I believe the key in this Psalm for being able to live a life of thanksgiving is found in verse 3: The Lord is God, and we are not. He made us, We did not make God. He is the Creator and the Shepherd, the pastures belong to Him. God is the owner and provider, and we are the blessed recipients of His gifts and grace. We, therefore, should live in blessed surrender to who He is and all that He is.
For me, to the extent I can live in verse 3, I am able to understand the fullness of the goodness of God, and then live in joyful Thanksgiving to the One true King, “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, to who honor and glory belong forever, AMEN!”