You might be surprised to hear that the most common command in the bible isn’t prohibitive. Rather, scripture urges us again and again to DO something. Over 70 times in the New Testament, we are commanded to give thanks and praise to our God. In the book of Psalms alone, it is thought that there are around 36 references to thanksgiving, occurring in 24 different Psalms. So why is thankfulness so important? The truth of the matter is, there are infinite reasons to give thanks and praise to our God – and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are three to get you started!
Being Thankful is Good
Psalm 92 opens with these words: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High, to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night.
Giving thanks is good! The word good here could be interchanged with ‘right’ or ‘fitting.’ Thankfulness is the only appropriate response to a God whose lovingkindness we wake up to each and every morning, and whose faithfulness we can sing of night after night. Thanksgiving is the only fitting response to Jesus, who laid down His life to save us. Thankfulness, particularly when spoken out loud, is good for the soul, and edifies those around us. Thankfulness carries a lovely fragrance, which always beautifies and edifies the atmosphere. Thankfulness is good.
Being Thankful Leads Us to Joy
Psalm 16:11 tells us that in God’s presence there is fullness of joy. So how do we get into God’s presence?
It can be all too easy to wake up in the morning and immediately begin to focus on our problems or the long list of things we need to get done. This doesn’t make for a very joyful day.
Psalm 100:4 exalts us to ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!’ We come into God’s presence through the gateway of thankfulness and praise.
Thankfulness can sometimes feel a bit like climbing up a hill. When we first come to God, we may be feeling anxious, stressed, or even just empty. But as we begin to release our praise and thankfulness to God, we ascend higher and higher, until sooner or later we get a new sense of perspective. As we declare God’s lovingkindness, as we speak out His precious and magnificent promises, it’s like standing and gazing over the panoramic horizon of God’s grace and goodness, which stretches endlessly before us.
Being Thankful is God’s Will for Us
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us this: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I often used to ponder what the will of God was for my life. Well, this verse takes the mystery right out of that! God’s will for me is to be the kind of person who rejoices – a lot – in fact, in every circumstance! To be someone who abides in communion with God, in whose presence there is fullness of joy. And to be the sort of person, that in a world filled with much moaning and complaining, exudes thankfulness. Thankfulness brings glory and honor to God the Father.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2 (NKJV)