The Discipline of Being Thankful :: By Sean Gooding
Psalm 34: 1-10
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you, His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
The Lord is good! God is good. One of the things that frames all that happens to us in life is that God is good. He is good to His own people, and even when bad things happen, God is there with us all the time. Then David encourages us to ‘fear the Lord,’ to hold Him in high regard, and to understand His majesty and honor. We should be very thankful that we serve a God who is all-powerful; He can help us, save us, love us, provide for us, and take care of us with unlimited power. Then, in verse 10, we see that sometimes, the lions go without food, but God’s people always have all the good that we need. David puts it this way in Psalm 37:25,
“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”
Wow, what comforting words! What security! What peace! This is why we are to be a thankful people. We have certainties in our lives that the people of the world simply do not have. Being a thankful person is a discipline that needs to be cultivated. We are not naturally thankful; we are naturally greedy, covetous, and tend to complain. But as children of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, we are to cultivate a discipline of being thankful.
We had this discussion in our mid-week Bible study, and one of the men had begun to write down things to be thankful for. He was up to 15 things in a very short time. One other fellow had begun to catalog his progress as he grew in Jesus, and he has up to 12 pages of ways that God was moving in his life and changing him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul encourages us this way,
“Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We are to ‘give thanks’ in everything, under all circumstances; this is God’s will for us. Let that sink in; we have a lot of people in our churches who are searching for God’s will in their lives, and right here, we are told in plain and simple language that God wants us to be thankful. This is a discipline that every single Christian can learn and incorporate into our daily lives. When we begin to seek the discipline of being thankful, we will begin to see more and more things to be thankful for. Soon, our lives will be consumed by thankfulness, and it will begin to rub off on others. Some may think we are nuts; some may not like to be around us because we are too positive. But this we know for sure: thankful people are in the WILL of GOD, which means the complainers are not. Let them complain about you; you seek to please God.
Last night at our mid-week study, we spent time simply thanking God. We all too often spend a lot of time asking God for stuff, asking Him to heal and help, but we should be just as eager to say thanks to Him. We should make it part of our lives to spend a lot of time each day thanking God for the seemingly insignificant things. How many have a car to drive, more than enough food to eat, a clean washroom to use, parents to bug us, kids to yell at, a warm home in the winter, and a cool home for those who live in the heat? Do not take these things for granted. Be thankful. Over and over, we are called to be a thankful people; it is echoed over and over again, as if God wants us to get the point.
Psalm 136:1-3, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever.”
This same verse is echoed in 1 Chronicles 16:34: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” In Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” We are to devote ourselves to being thankful. Hebrews 12:28-29, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”
We are so blessed to know where we are going, to know our eternal future in Jesus, and to know that our sins are covered forever by His precious blood that we should always and in every situation find a way to be thankful. To my American friends, have a Happy Thanksgiving! May the Lord bless us and keep us; may He cause His face to shine on us and give us peace.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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