When we render our thanks to God, we are doing three things that need to be emphasized. When we consider that we are offering up our gratitude in a year when the dirty deeds have been abundant, the scoffers appear to have their run of the place, and all the news appears to be tedious, it becomes even more important to remember these three aspects of the need for thanksgiving.
The first is that thanksgiving is required of us in every circumstance.
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
In short, we are told to give thanks for all things and in all things. We sometimes kick at this, because it can seem irrational to us, but the one who tells us to do it is the one who knows the entire story. He is the one who knows the end from the beginning. He is the alpha and omega, and when He tells us to thank Him for everything, this is not because He wants us to grow in stupidity. It is because He wants us to grow in wisdom. So obeying this command is a summons to that wisdom.
Second, when we look past the events that we have to thank God for by faith, we obviously see all the natural wonders He gives to us, the things that natural revelation reveal as requiring a response of thanksgiving.
“He watereth the hills from his chambers: The earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, And herb for the service of man: That he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, And oil to make his face to shine, And bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.”
Psalm 104:13–15 (KJV)
This is the pumpkin pie response. This is the ham, and the turkey, and the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the green beans with pistachios, and the wonderful women who make such things appear with such regularity. God is seen here in His natural goodness.
And then third, thanksgiving is a weapon. And if we are serious about diminishing real evil in the world, which appears to be everywhere, then we must grow strong in the one thing that evil cannot touch or overcome. We must honor God as God, and we must give Him thanks. This is the arrow that is aimed straight at the central heart of unbelief. And with the right disposition, standing before God in humility, the quiver that is filled with these arrows is a quiver that will never run out. There will always be another thanksgiving arrow.