Written By Crystal Tang, Singapore
Recently, I was searching the Bible for verses relating to giving thanks and thanksgiving and at least 200 verses showed up. In the Old Testament, we read of the Israelites offering sacrifices and praises of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness, protection, deliverance, providence, etc. In the New Testament, we read of Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving in Matthew 11:25.
In Paul’s epistles, the idea of thanksgiving is reiterated more than 40 times. The apostle Paul continually gives thanks in his letters to the early churches and encourages fellow believers to do likewise. In his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul gives three reasons why we should give thanks:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:11-14).
Paul tells us to give thanks to God for enabling us to share in the inheritance that belongs to all of God’s people. We should also be grateful to God for rescuing us from the depths of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of Jesus, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. We know that God did this out of love (John 3:16).
Being thankful reminds us to place God before ourselves and give all glory to Him alone. By failing to give thanks, we focus on ourselves and lose sight of the great things God has done in our lives.
The opposite of thanksgiving—thanklessness—characterizes those who are against God. In Romans 1:21, we read that those who do not honor God and do not give thanks to him despite knowing him became “futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
So dear friends, let us “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).