It is a mystery to me why anyone would celebrate a holiday called “Thanksgiving” if they do not believe in God. Look at the word itself - “giving thanks.” I mean, to whom do you give thanks? Or worse, to what? To random chance? To blind luck?
Being grateful is a choice and it originates in the human heart. Gratitude is an attitude before it can become an action. Being thankful is a humble acknowledgement that you see your dependence on the Creator.
The word “gratitude” has within it the same root as “grace.” Grace is always unmerited favor, something to be received, but never able to be deserved or earned. So the proper response to blessings we can never earn is simply to be grateful for them.
I don’t like to be around self-centered people who are ungrateful. What about you? Folks who are not thankful or who never show appreciation are unpleasant individuals. They take everything good for granted. They act like they deserve more, better. They make an idol of themselves and don’t thank anyone else who serves.
To be grateful requires that you make some assumptions. First, you assume that someone with power is the source of your blessings. Second, that this someone is merciful and deserves your thanks. Third, that this someone is a person who is listening to you when you express thanks; and fourth, that this someone who watches us and judges us will notice our continual lack of gratitude and will eventually move to reduce the blessings that we have long taken for granted.
This judgment upon a nation is described in Romans chapter one, verse 21: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks …” If America falls, a big factor will be our lack of thanks to our benevolent Creator who has certainly given us every imaginable blessing, favor and opportunity.
When our forefathers learned how to survive America’s harsh winters, they had enough God-fearing common sense to pause, celebrate, and offer thanks to Almighty God. When you gathered around the table for your Thanksgiving meal, did you say a prayer of thanks to God for your food, your family, and the privilege of living in the United States of America?
Did you thank the Lord that you can see, that you can hear, that you can read, that you have clean water and fresh air? Did you thank God for access to the Bible, for freedom to worship, and for your salvation?
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God on Chandler Road. 601-483-8189. trinitymeridian.com. Ron hosts “The Father’s Power” radio show at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays on 103.3 FM.