12 Biblical Reasons to Give Thanks


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I certainly love it as much as I love Christmas (even though it doesn't get near the treatment that Christmas gets).

Growing up, Thanksgiving was the day when my Mom's side of the family got together. It was always a huge meal with lots of people. Of the "big three" (Food, Family, Faith), the first two were always associated with Thanksgiving. But the "faith" aspect of Thanksgiving wasn't really ignited in me until 1986. I was still a new Christian and learning how to have a different outlook on life. Then along came Back to the Street, by Petra. It was the first album to be produced by John and Dino Elefante and the first to feature new lead singer John Schlitt. The entire album is amazing, but the last song, Thankful Heart, really impacted me. 

I have a thankful heart
That you have given me
And it can only come from you...
Help me be a man of God
A man who's after your own heart
Help me show my gratitude
And keep in me a thankful heart
I want to be someone who lives with an "attitude of gratitude," and so Thanksgiving is an opportunity each year for me to sort of "recalibrate" and prepare myself to enjoy the Christmas season in a truly non-commercial, non-material manner. 

This year I started thinking, what does the Bible have to say about thankfulness? Many of my Facebook friends participate in the activity of making a daily post to identify their thankfulness for something or someone. That's fantastic. A few years ago, I started the "Say Thanks" campaign on Facebook and each year try to get a few more people to participate. Also fantastic. But I felt like some element was still missing. So I did the study and found that the Bible did have a lot to add to this conversation. Here are twelve Biblical reasons to give thanks:

  1. Scripture Commands It. 1 Chronicles 16:8 says, "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Psalms 100:4 says we are to "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Need more? See also Psalms 105:1; Isaiah 12:4; and Colossians 3:17.
  2. Because of His Righteousness. "I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High" (Psalms 7:17).
  3. For His Laws. What would cause someone to want to get out of a nice warm bed at midnight? Psalms 119:62 says,"At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws."
  4. Because His Name Is Near. "We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds" (Psalms 75:1). This is the most fascinating reason I found. I think, as believers, many of us have really missed out on the power of knowing some of the many names Scripture uses for God. His names reveal His character—and in many cases, His promises to us. To have that kind of knowledge near (handy) is something for which we should truly be thankful.
  5. Because He Reigns. The twenty-four elders of Revelations 11:17 fell prostrate before the Lord and had this to say: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."
  6. For His Deliverance. "Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise" (1 Chronicles 16:35). Later, Psalms 106:47 would repeat this almost word-for-word.
  7. For Answered Prayer. The Psalmist gave thanks because the Lord answered his prayer for salvation (Psalms 118:21). And in his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul said "many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."
  8. For Christ and the Victory He Gives. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (15:57). And then in his second letter he echoes that sentiment, saying, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him (2:14). In 2 Corinthians 9:15 he calls this an "indescribable gift!"
  9. For His Love and Deeds. When Scripture uses the same phrase multiple times (even in Psalms), it's worth giving a bit of extra attention to: "Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men" (Psalms 107:8, 15, 21, 31).
  10. Because His Love and Mercy Endures Forever! This is a big one. 1 Chronicles 16:34 says it outright: "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Then in verse 41, people were "chosen and designated by name" to give thanks in this fashion. When Solomon moved the Ark into the Temple (2 Chronicles 5:13) he had a full band and choir on-hand to sing this phrase, and then "the temple of the LORD was filled" with the glory of the Lord. We see this same phrase used contextually in 2 Chronicles 7:3, 6; and in 20:21. The Psalmist repeats it eight times (Psalms 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1-3). And finally, the prophet Jeremiah records the phrase in 33:11 as a prophetic promise from the Lord concerning what one day will again be heard in Israel.
  11. For Other Believers. In his letters to both the Ephesian and Roman Christians, Paul takes time to give thanks for other believers (Ephesians 1:16; Romans 6:17).
  12. For Everything! This may be the hardest reason to give thanks. Ephesians 5:20 says we should be "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 backs that up saying that we should "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." That's for the good and the bad, the highlights and lowlights. Of course, it is easier when you make reasons 1-11 a matter of lifestyle. 
This year, as you prepare for Thanksgiving Day, I encourage you to spend some time meditating on each of these reasons to give thanks according to Scripture itself.
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About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.

2 Comments:

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    1. Thanks, Jerry! I love a good "well done," but it means even more coming from you ... I can't thank you enough for taking a chance on me all those years again via Strang. You were an awesome mentor.

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