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When our children were young, we from time to time, had to remind them to say, “Thank you,” when someone gave them something. We certainly wanted them to have good manners, but it was deeper than that, we knew that it was essential to have a grateful spirit not only toward men, but that it played an important role in being ultimately thankful to the Lord. James teaches us in 1:17; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

In most cases their failure to say “Thank you” was less a total lack of gratitude and more an excitement to play with or consume what they had been given. Without consideration, they had placed the action of enjoying the gift above the attitude of being grateful for it. Sadly, there are times that I observe that lingering behavior in myself and other adults. It is not completely a lack of gratitude but a busyness that does not allow for appropriate expression of gratitude.

Years ago, I read an account of a missionary who was translating the Bible into the language of some native people who not only did not have the Bible in their language but did not even have a written language. After doing the hard work of writing the language he and his team began the task of translating the Bible. There were many difficult moments of deciding how you could express a sentiment in these new words. The one that so attracted my attention was how they translated “thanksgiving” into words that this people group could grasp. They chose to translate the concept as "sit down in front of God.” It expressed the need to revere and place themselves in a posture to acknowledge and listen to God. It spoke of the realization that they were totally dependent upon Him.

If I could give advice to anyone willing to listen to it this Thanksgiving holiday it would be this, enjoy every minute of it with friends and family and service to others but not to the neglect of sitting quietly before the Lord and saying “thank you." Do not let our activity as a result of His blessing rob us of a meditative time of thanking Him for the blessings. The activity will exhaust but the quiet time before the Lord will renew and refresh us.

The songwriter put it simply but beautifully in the chorus:

Count your many blessings, name them one by one;

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done;

Take time to consider God’s blessings and to express thanks to Him this week and every week. It will change your view of God, your view of yourself, your view of others, and your view of your future! Thank you, Lord!


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