Thanksgiving is not just a holiday for overeating and sleeping through football games. Thanksgiving is a spiritual discipline that leads to deeper maturity and greater strength in coping with the ever changing currents of life. Here are some passages in the New Testament about giving thanks.
O Generous and Gracious God, thank you for the many ways you bless me. May I be a blessing to others in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Monday – John 6:1-13
Picture this. There are thousands of people gathered around Jesus. Jesus decides to feed them. The disciples are incredulous! This is impossible! And Jesus takes what everyone knows is inadequate, and he gives thanks. Most of our prayers complain where we don’t have enough, and Jesus gives thanks for what is insufficient. And then, the miracle happens. In Jesus’ hands, it is abundant, full, and free. For what do you need to give thanks to God… even if it appears to inadequate?
Tuesday – Acts 16:16-40
Okay, a little longer than usual, but what a story. Paul and Silas are thrown in to prison for what? And while they are in chains in the dungeon, they do what? And what happens? And because of all that, whose lives were changed? How can you learn to sing when everything is going bad? How will your thanksgiving faith shake the foundations of prisons everywhere?
Wednesday – Philippians 4:1-9
Scholars believe this might have been one of the last letters Paul wrote – at least of the letters still in existence today. They also believe Paul was in prison when he wrote these words. These are not the words I would expect to read. What is the relationship between thanksgiving and peace in these verses? How would Paul know about thanksgiving and peace? On what do you focus your thinking?
Thursday – Colossians 2:4-15
Things were not going all that well in the Colossian church. And Paul couldn’t be there to sort things out. There were many confusing issues around circumcision, worship of angels, different holidays to observe, etc. What did Paul teach? (see vss 6-7). What are the other pieces that fit with gratitude? How can this bring order and wisdom to your world?
Friday – Ephesians 5:15-21
This is Paul’s formula for “making the most of time.” What are the steps Paul encourages for following God’s will? For what are we to give thanks? Any exceptions? What is the power of thanksgiving in transforming “everything” into God’s special blessings?
Saturday – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
Paul often ended his letters with these rapid fire lists of how to live faithfully.What does he say about the spiritual discipline of giving thanks?How does this commitment connect with the other elements such as God’s gift of peace, comfort, help, and patience?How does giving thanks trigger God’s faithfulness?Does this have any impact on … say, … any special football games today?