Thanksgiving is my favorite national holiday because it’s one time when our nation seems to embrace a uniquely Christian virtue. We aren’t talking about the social grace of saying “thank you,” but what Webster calls “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received without payment or obligation. A warm, appreciative response to kindness.” We call it a Christian attitude of gratitude.
Our society has moved to a “survival of the fittest” mentality. This philosophy says that if I have a blessing, it’s because I am more fit, and I have earned it. If I give a blessing, it is because I expect to get something in return. In contrast to this view, the Bible instructs followers of Jesus to have an attitude of gratitude—to be in constant thanksgiving. (See 2 Corinthians 9:11-12; Ephesians 5:4; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 2:7 and 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1 and 4:3-4.) You develop and grow in this attitude because being thankful means caring about others more than yourself. The more mature a Christian becomes, the more gratitude they will have.
Most of the ills in society today are because we have turned away from having a Christian attitude of gratitude and have turned to the survival of the fittest mentality. Divorce happens when we don’t look for the good things our mate brings to us. We must be thankful for their strengths instead of dwelling on their weaknesses. Parents can damage children’s self-image by not expressing genuine gratitude for the positive things children bring to their lives. Old age becomes a real challenge when the family focuses on the burdens the senior brings to them instead of the blessings the person has given through the years.
Romans 1 describes the decadent world in which we live. Verses 21 and 22 tell about an ungrateful person: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.”
God does not instruct us to be thankful because He has a huge ego that needs praise. We need to be grateful for every blessing in life because that will shape us into the kind of person we should be. Be thankful to live in America, to have medical solutions for life’s ills, to have enough to eat, a warm home, and loved ones. Whatever blessings you have, don’t take them for granted. Develop a Chrisitan attitude of gratitude and have a thankful Thanksgiving.
— John N. Clayton © 2021