Back in October I began thinking about Thanksgiving and decided to make the entire month of November a season of giving thanks. I ordered a used book entitled Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline theme written by David W. Pao and published in 2002.
I finished the book in about week reading some of the 174 pp. every night in bed before going to sleep. It was just what I needed to carry out my plan for the month; and even though the title refers to Paul’s writings, Pao includes more than just Paul’s letters.
This week I am going through the book again and noting things I underlined in my first reading. As I have reviewed what I underlined I thought some readers of my blog might be instructed, encouraged, and challenged by reading a few of Pao’s observations about being thankful. (I underlined a lot, but can only include a few.)
“One of the prominent ways to express thanks to God for what he has done for his people is to offer him praise” (p. 25).
“Praise and glory are offered as a grateful response to the awesome work of God” (p. 32).
“When God is acknowledged as the Lord of all, thanksgiving becomes a humbling admitting act admitting the dependency of human existence” (p. 35).
Submitting to God and following Jesus “is not to be understood as a way to earn favor in the presence of God. Rather, it is a response to the divine acts of Grace” (p. 44).
“To give thanks to God is to remember what he has done for us” (p. 60).
“Thanksgiving is not an isolated act of gratitude. It is to be lived out as a life of worship” (p. 98).
“To be ungrateful is not simply a state of absent-mindedness. It is the failure to acknowledge God as the creator and Lord of all” (p. 157).
“Thanksgiving in Paul points us back to the past, exhorts us to live our present lives in light of the past, and provides hope as we anticipate the consummation of God’s promises in the future” (p. 58).
One of my favorite verses in Paul’s writing is I Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Note this instruction does not say give thanks for all circumstances,” but give thanks in all circumstances.
One of my favorite verses in the book of Psalms is 107:1, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Here’s a challenging quote from C.K. Chesterton, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
In all of life, but especially this week, let’s not take things for granted with ingratitude, but take them with gratitude.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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