Giving Thanks

0106. The Miracle of Giving Thanks

This week in the United States, people are celebrating Thanksgiving. We hope you are spending the day with loved ones and other friends. Even though this holiday is uniquely American, its roots go back to the Bible and Jesus. This is because giving thanks is the stuff of miracles. In Matthew 14:13-21 (NIV), Jesus performed the miracle of feeding of more than 5000, including the women and children:

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Did you ever ponder how that miracle was accomplished? Well, if we read the passage again, it clearly gives the explanation. “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, HE GAVE THANKS” [emphasis mine]. Jesus had an impossible circumstance facing him and his disciples. Did he panic? Did he worry about what he did not have? Did he call for a brainstorming session with his disciples? Nope. Instead, he gave thanks to God, and the rest is history. The Pilgrims also did this in spite of their hardships, not knowing the miracle of Thanksgiving, the United States of America, would someday be the fruit of their thanks.

Although Thanksgiving is a holiday that is only celebrated once a year, the spirit of giving thanks can be invoked at any time. Psalm 107:1 (NIV) says: “GIVE THANKS [emphasis mine] to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) tells us: “Rejoice always, pray continually, GIVE THANKS [emphasis mine] in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” So no matter what impossible circumstances you face, just give thanks to God. For it is through him that all things are possible, and the stuff of miracles can be realized. So each and everyday:

  • Be thankful that God Almighty is always there for us and working on our behalf.
  • Be thankful that Jesus Christ is our savior.
  • Be thankful that we are able to communicate with God through prayer, scripture, and ministry.
  • Be thankful for living in the greatest nation the world has ever known, the United States of America.
  • Be thankful for family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Be thankful for the possessions we have been blessed with.
  • Be thankful for knowing good vs. evil and right from wrong.

God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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