A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
There is a funny thing about being thankful; you cannot do it silently. There is really no such thing as being thankful, if we never express our thanks. We can think about it, contemplate it, even prepare for it, but if it never comes out in a tangible way, it is sterile and meaningless.
This is Thanksgiving week. Many people this week will give a nod to thankfulness, but will not truly engage in it. For a person to really demonstrate a thankful heart, there are at least three things that must be included.
Our thanks must have an object. There is no such thing as generic thankfulness. Genuine thanks is directed toward a person or an entity. David makes it very clear that the object of our thankfulness is God. As James tells us, God is the giver of all good gifts. Everything that we have and enjoy comes from the hand of God. He is the one, above all, who deserves our gratitude.
Our thanks must be specific. We need to identify what it is that we are thankful for. The more specific that we are, the more authentic is our gratitude. David models this for us in Psalm 103.
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Our thanks needs to be expressed. Thankfulness is not just a warm fuzzy feeling. Thankfulness is active. If we are truly thankful, it just has to come out. We cannot help it. David tells us that our gratitude should be expressed with shouts of praise and with exuberant worship.
Thanksgiving can be a full, hectic day. There are many activities that can and will capture our attention. Be sure to include time to express your thanks to God and to the people God has placed in your life.