“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.” On the day I wrote this article, I was pleasantly surprised to open my Bible to read this verse in Psalm 92. I had just finished working on a sermon for the Living for Jesus series in which the subject of thankfulness was one of the major themes. This gave me the opportunity to write on the subject and give insight to those who might not hear the sermon.
My angle on thankfulness comes from the topic of prayer. One of the essentials of prayer is that we show God an attitude of gratitude. Christians are people that love to do things for others because helping others is part of the new spiritual life given to us in Christ. He was always giving to others, especially for the needs of poor lost sinners who can find salvation only in Him. Even though we should give unselfishly as He gave whether or not others compliment us or give thanks, still there is definitely a warm feeling when we know others appreciate our efforts. It makes it much easier to follow through the next time there is a need when we know those we help sincerely value it. Most of us would be at least a little reluctant to give again if those we help constantly take from us without acknowledging what we do.
This is a very simple principle, and yet there are many Christians that never pause to offer God thanks for the many benefits received. They constantly go to the well of God’s grace with hand outstretched and grab from Him without showing the gratitude He deserves. There is a point, I believe, when God stops giving because of ingratitude. Many things can hinder prayer and surely this is one. You see, we are commanded to give thanks, and if we treat God despitefully by acting as if we deserve what He gives, it is sin. Sin always hinders prayer. Sin is the fuel of ingratitude. As we read this psalm, it is hard to imagine the author was not wholly in tune with God which caused him to do the natural thing for Christians—to thank God for His lovingkindness and faithfulness.
One more point I would like to make. The inscription of the psalm is, “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day.” The Sabbath was the Old Testament day of worship. Everything stopped—all secular activity stopped on the Sabbath so everyone could concentrate their thoughts on God. The cessation of worldly pursuits leaves the mind open to contemplate God’s wonderful works. This is the reason Christians should make it a point to go to church and worship. We need the time to get away from everything else we think about to consider God. What can we think about God other than how He so graciously gave us salvation through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ? Will this not lead you to thankfulness and praise?
Self-absorption is no recipe for caring about what God thinks. Let’s take the time to reflect on His blessings and give Him the thanks He so richly deserves. You will feel good for it because you know it pleases Him.
Pastor V. Mark Smith