Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9 NIV
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Luke 9:16-17 NIV
Giving thanks to God acknowledges our need for him. Being thankful is an expression of our dependence on Him for everything that we have, and for everything that we need in the future. It is a posture of humility before God – to give thanks to Him for our daily needs and for His many blessings given to us.
Jesus models this for us, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people,” Luke 9:16. Jesus thanks God for the loaves and fish, acknowledging that we are dependent on God for everything. Then the miracle happens, the 5000 men plus the women and children present, all ate and were satisfied. Jesus gave thanks – God provided for the need.
Paul also encourages us to be thankful to God. He writes, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” I Thessalonians 5:22. Being thankful for what God has given us does not depend on our wealth, our health, our age or our marital status. Paul wrote to the Philippian church on this topic as well. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:11-13. Because Paul penned these words while in prison – his statement carries even more weight.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is worth the effort. Humbling ourselves before God – to give Him thanks for all that He has given us – our food, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our families, our lives – is what God desires of us. Take some time to look at your life right now. Perhaps make a list of ways God has provided for you, or for answered prayers, or for a specific provision. Take some time to pray and humbly thank God for all He has done for you.
By Grace Hunter