Updated: Oct 16
What does it mean to give thanks? How do we give thanks, and why should we give thanks?
Throughout this article, we will discuss the benefits of gratitude, the ways of giving gratitude and the why’s of giving gratitude.
Let’s break it down to three elements of thanksgiving: Mysteries, Measure and Method.
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The Mysteries of Thanksgiving
The world can be complex place. There are intricacies and blind spots. Perhaps you have found yourself in situations where you have tried to solve problems or get things done on your own, but never got any results. This can feel very frustrating.
In times like that when you seek God, there is a divine hand which changes the course of your situation. It can be very mysterious - things happen in a way that you know that it was only God who could have done it.
This divine intervention is something we often desire, but how do we activate these mysteries in our life to be fruitful and to manifest our blessings? One very potent way, is through Thanksgiving.
Entrance to the Supernatural is through thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving brings us right into the presence of God. As we read in the book pf Psalms
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalms 95:2)
It is from this supernatural realm that we access God's mysteries.
Thanksgiving is a prelude to more blessings.
When we give thanks, we are more inclined to receive more blessings. When a person shows more gratitude for what they are given, we are more inclined to give them more compared to an individual who displays ungratefulness.
This is manifest and quite obvious in the world around us.
Similarly, when we give thanks from our hearts, for the things we receive from God, we put ourselves in a position to receive more things of God, physically and spiritually. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-24, we see how Paul speaks of being able to give to others just as the Lord had given to him.
Another instance is seen in Jesus, Who first gave thanks to God, and then multiplied what he had before giving it to be taken in remembrance of Him in the last supper. “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Like Christ, when we give thanks, we also do this for the remembrance of God. Remembering who gave it, being grateful, which in turn keeps us humble and faithful for more promises to manifest in our lives.
Thanksgiving is an angel of change.
Thanksgiving changes the nature and composition of the matters we deal with. If we are in a place where we want to level up in, we must give thanks. Thanksgiving is where we will gain access to the divine power of multiplication.
We see in John 6:4-13 the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves to share with his disciples. And just as Jesus performs his miracles of multiplication, he gives thanks. In Verse 11 we read:
“And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted”.
In essence, multiplication is made possible through thanksgiving.
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The Measure of Thanksgiving
Let’s discuss the three levels of measure when it comes to Thanksgiving.
Level #1 Giving Thanks for the Good Things Done and the Good Yet to Be.
Though this is described here as level 1, it is an absolutely integral and important part of our walk with God.
The first part of this level is giving thanks for the good things done in your life.
We have already talked about this in the sections above, but to emphasize, In Psalms 105:1, we see David shout out with praises of what the Lord had done.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!”
This is the kind of energy we should have if we are to truly receive His goodness with full understanding of what he has done. Deeply and truly acknowledging God's goodness, we find we are not able to contain ourselves because we are so full of gratitude.
If this is something you struggle with or want to experience, pray for the grace of a grateful heart and wisdom to receive his goodness. And God will never fail to answer your prayer.
The second part of this level is when we give thanks for the good things we are hopeful for
When we are hopeful for goodness in our lives, we must give thanks. It might seem backwards that we are "giving thanks in advance" as it were. But we see in in 2 Chronicles 20:21
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever”
We see the hopeful praises Jehoshaphat had assigned to his army before battle, showing their hope before the goodness had been fulfilled. We must have this attitude when we are hopeful for something to change or come forth in our lives.
Now on to level 2 of thanksgiving.
Level #2 Being Thankful for All Things - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
We must give thanks in all things. As we give thanks in the times of good, when things feel unbearable, we should also go to God and give thanks. What may seem bad and ugly to you, is being turned into something good and beautiful.
In these hard times, we are given the opportunity to increase our faith, trust in the Lord and give thanks because everything will work out for you just as the Lord has promised.
We see this faithful attitude displayed in Job. In Job 1:20, we read
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshipped”.
Despite losing most of what he had: his oxen, servants, sheep, camels and his children, all quite suddenly, Job still came to God with praises.
Will you stop loving your loved ones because they are unable to give you what you want? Is your love for them conditional based on what they can do for you? I we truly believe that unconditional love is the highest form of love, then we can see why loving God even when we don’t get our way is a powerful thing indeed.
We can do this because we know He also loves us unconditionally and everything is always working for our good.
We can pray for a softened heart that is filled with faith and trust in the Lord through all times.
We can be thankful because He is in control.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.
Let your rejoicing, prayers and thanksgiving bring forth the will of God in your life.
Level #3 Thanking God for His Nature and Name.
Not only do we give thanks for the things God gives to us, but we give thanks to God for his character; for his faithfulness, mercy, kindness and love. We give thanks for his divinity and for his unchanging unconditional love for us.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalms 100:4)
Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name”.
Psalms 106:1, “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever”.
All these verses remind and encourage us to give thanks to God, not just for what He does, for for his attributes (like mercy for example), but also for WHO HE is.
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The Method of Thanksgiving
Having gone over why we should give thanks, now, how do we give thanks? How do we offer the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
We must come into thanksgiving with a grateful heart. Gratitude is a powerful stance when it comes to relating with God, especially in the context of thanksgiving. In fact, gratitude is the very stuff of thanksgiving! You might think this is obvious, but how often have you heard others or yourself mindlessly parroting "prayers" of thanksgiving - just saying the words, but not really being in a grateful state of heart?
Let us look at the account of David given in 2 Samuel 6:21,
“So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord”.
David had been promoted from being a shepherd boy to a ruler over Israel. And in receiving that blessing from God, David professes his gratitude through music.
In Psalms 138:1,David declares
“I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You”,
Here is another example of gratitude from the heart; we see David so in love with the offering of servitude to God through praising him with songs.
This is what it means to be grateful from the heart, to truly be humbled by the fact your life is in God’s hands and the works of the Lord are manifested not by your works alone, but by the grace, love and power of God.
And from our hearts of gratitude comes our spirit for celebration.
Give thanks with a spirit of celebration
When you receive good news what do you do? You celebrate!
When you have someone dear in your life whom you love, what do you do to show appreciation? You celebrate them!
Staying on David, in 2 Samuel 6:14-15, we read:
“Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet”.
Bringing a sacrifice/offering to the ark of God
Thanksgiving often involves bringing a gift, offering or sacrifice. In the passage above, we read that David had brought his offering to the ark of the Lord with songs, dance and celebration.
The word "ark" is significant. What does "ark" mean?
In several synonyms of the word Ark, we find words: basket, chest, refuge, retreat, shelter, vessel. When meditating on these meanings one can understand in the passages: 2 Samuel 6:14-15, Psalm 96:8 and Psalms 66:13; an ark is something which is filled with the things of God.
Sometimes, these are physical gifts, but often we bring "sacrifices of praise"
We must bring our praises to God, with the things he has given us.
“I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, which my lips have uttered and my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats.”
Let us give thanks so that we may fuel our journey with our God, with faithfulness in remembrance of the good things he has done before and for the good things that are to come. So that in our hard times we remain above the waves while maintaining our focus on Him.
Let us give thanks for who God is, that as little as we are, we are loved, seen and heard. We have breath to praise and a sound mind to receive.
Grab a moment to start your day with thanksgiving and speak with God; He is listening. Don’t think you are asking for too much, pray every step of the way and come with offerings of thanksgiving.