Thanksgiving is a command of God. Dana Clark, Missionary to Bangladesh, wrote her Thanksgiving letter on this topic. There is quite a bit of wisdom in her post. (Bold highlights mine)
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thess. 5:7
Dear “Rope Holders,”
Many Americans attribute the idea of thanksgiving to the Pilgrims or Abraham Lincoln, but the Scriptures teach us that thanksgiving is God’s idea. In fact, it is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything.
So as I reflect on “everything” in my life right now, I am reminded that giving thanks is a choice that I make; it is a perspective, a thought pattern, that takes a conscious effort. In many areas of my life this is easy: I am thankful for my family, friends (both here and around the world) and supporters. I am thankful for my church family, my Savior, and God’s Word. I am thankful for God’s provisions and the fact that He is at work in my life. In other areas of my life, it isn’t so easy: I am thankful for the prayers that God hasn’t answered my way, because it has caused me to trust Him in new ways. I am thankful for the things that God has taken away, because it helps me to realize that He is enough to meet my every need. I am thankful for the trials of life, because in them I can experience His strength, peace and comfort.
I am reminded of a favorite hymn (and I can still hear my UBCS students singing) while writing this letter:
Thanks to God!
- Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
- Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
- Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
Remember to always be thankful.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001