Is there any benefit to being thankful? Many only think about thankfulness around this time of the year. We are often admonished to be thankful, to count our blessings, to look back over the year and be grateful for what we have. According, to the Bible, being thankful is not a holiday. In the Old Testament, God commanded the children of Israel to keep certain feasts unto the Lord. By these feasts, they and their children were supposed to be reminded of all that the Lord did (Ex. 13:5-10). These feasts were supposed to be points where children were instructed in the things of God. Most of all, they were supposed to be occasions of rejoicing.
Being Thankful and the Feasts of the Lord
Deuteronomy 16:11 (KJV)
11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
- The Feast of Weeks was a type and shadow of the Day of Pentecost or the outpouring of the Holy Ghost.
- On this day, which symbolized the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, God said, ‘You shalt rejoice…’
Deuteronomy 16:13–15 (KJV)
13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: 14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
- The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated life in the wilderness after the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt.
- The people dwelled in booths.
- Booths were temporary shelters constructed of olive and palm leaves.
- Notice in connection with this feast, God said ‘You shalt surely rejoice…’
What is a Solemn Feast in God’s Opinion?
- Look at the Hebrew definition of the word ‘solemn’.
DEFINITION: (Heb.) – ‘solemn’ – to march in a sacred procession, to celebrate, to dance, be giddy, to reel to and fro.
- The word does not mean a sad countenance.
- It does not mean sober and straight-faced.
- When we hear the word solemn, this is what we hear.
- The Lord said when you come and celebrate these feasts rejoice, celebrate, dance, be happy have a party.
- Doesn’t sound like a sad thing, does it?
- Did you notice there are no feasts to be kept in the New Testament?
- The only thing left to the church were two ordinances we call the Lord’s Supper and Water Baptism.
- Are these ordinances actually occasions for rejoicing?
Always, Continually, Evermore and Abounding
Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
- The key word here is ALWAYS.
- Always means not just in November.
- Always means all the time, and as you keep reading, for all things.
Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
- How often should we praise God?
- ‘By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually…’
- The key word here is CONTINUALLY.
- Continually means all the time not just in November.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 (KJV)
16 Rejoice evermore.
- The Amplified Bible states it this way. “Rejoice and be glad hearted continually – always.”
- The key word here is EVERMORE.
Colossians 2:7 (KJV)
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
- The key word here is ABOUNDING with thanksgiving.
- The New Testament pattern is not to have a feast to rally around but rather to have a continually praise unto God.
- The feasts of Israel lasted a few days. We are instructed in the New Testament to rejoice day by day.
Proverbs 15:15 (KJV)
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: But he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
- A thankful heart is a heart which is having a party all the time. That’s God’s idea.
Thankfulness and Worship
- The same Bible that tells you to worship God and pour out your hearts toward Him, also tells you to be thankful, to rejoice, to be glad, giddy and happy.
- You don’t do one at the expense of the other.
- True worship at times can leave you full of awe.
- Some try to put on an air of being so holy and pure.
- They never laugh or smile.
- They think they are being spiritual when instead they are only sad, depressed and carnal.
What Kind of Things Should We Be Thankful For?
Psalm 118:1 (KJV)
1 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: Because his mercy endureth for ever.
- Be thankful your God is a good God and full of everlasting mercy.
- How long is everlasting? One day longer than you think.
Colossians 1:12 (KJV)
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
- Be thankful for your salvation, you are partaker of God’s good graces.
John 6:11 (KJV)
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
- Jesus was thankful. He’s the best one to copy.
- 1 Tim. 4:5 states eating is your cue to be thankful.
- Deuteronomy 8:10 adds this directive from the Lord. God said after you have eaten and are full you are to bless the Lord.
- If you’re going to thank God for your food then you should also thank God for your job.
- If you praise God for your job, it will help you maintain a good attitude about it.
- Many gripe about their jobs, they don’t have the hours, the pay, the benefits etc. All they do is gripe, gripe, gripe.
- Ephesians 6:5-8 shows us the way out of this.
Ephesians 6:5–8 (KJV)
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
- The word says to obey your employers with fear and trembling. That means don’t be so quick to get up in their faces.
- And when you do this, set your heart towards God. Do it as unto the Lord.
- In verse eight, God calls this ‘doing a good thing.’
- Of course, we can go on and on.
- You can thank God for your children.
- Thank God for your wife.
- You can thank God for your family.
- Thank God for your friends.
- And, thank God for people all around you.
- 1 Thess. 5:18 sums it up best.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Call to Action:
The best way I know to have a thankful heart is to follow the advice found in the following illustration.
Picture a balance scale with a bowl attached to each side. Now picture this same scale inside your heart. On the left side of the scale, the bowl quickly fills up with the various trials of the day: worries, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, financial stress—just to name a few. It just seems that life is not fair. Your scale has become too weighted with bad things. A mature believer knows how to bring a balance to life’s problems. How? By deciding to fill the bowl on the right with a THANKFUL HEART. No one ever said that it would be easy or that all of your circumstances had to be pleasant. A THANKFUL HEART comes from two things: asking and trusting God for the strength to bear the trials of life, and deliberately choosing to give thanks. As the believer acts in faith, God comes and fills his heart with an overflowing strength and gratitude 1.
Question: What have you done to help yourself acquire a thankful heart? Please leave your comments in the comments section below.
- Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Practical Illustrations: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2001), 135 ↩